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We all wish that there was a magic pill to help us lose weight, gain strength and maintain our flexibility. The effort of exercising can take time and can be hard work. But what If we mentioned that exercising can also give you added benefits of not only being great for your strength and keeping off those kilograms, but it can also help to keep you feeling and looking younger. That in itself is an excellent reason to get those trainers on and get moving.

The burning question when it comes to aging revolves around how can I look younger? Considering the grey hairs that appear over time, none of us want those crow’s feet and laughter lines to become more defined as the years go on. So how can we stop them? Well unfortunately there is no pill to stop them indefinitely, but there are ways that exercise can help to reduce these issues from getting any worse.

There are many different factors to an aging body, one of which is our skin. Our skin is the body’s largest organ, which is why it requires a vast array of blood supply at any given point. When we exercise we are pumping blood around the body and skin layers, delivering oxygen and nutrients, and removing any waste products. The more we are able to train, the more our body is able to keep our skin healthy through removing waste, getting our pores to sweat and keeping our skin nourished. Getting that flushed cheek look shows the blood is rushing to the skin and doing its job.

A factor that can affect our skin in a negative way is stress. Stress can leave us feeling fatigued, worsen any skin problems or irritations, reduce our sleep and leave us with puffy skin and bags under the eyes. Exercise has been shown to help individuals manage and reduce the amount of stress they are under. It’s time that you can give yourself every day to clear your head and reduce any anxiety or issues. Due to exercise having such a great effect on our endorphin levels, it helps to give you energy during the day, and sleep better at night. If you are getting a good night’s rest, it’s no secret that those red eyes, puffy skin and dark rings under your eyes will be no more. This in turn helps to give off a much more youthful glow and leaves you feeling less fatigued and full of energy.

Exercise is also a great way to help fight chronic diseases and build up your immunity. As we get older, autoimmune disorders become more common. We have fewer white blood cells able to fight off diseases. Certain cells do not respond as quickly to antigens (a harmful substance inducing a fighting response from our immune system) and our antibodies become less sensitive, therefor unable to attach to antigens. As we get older we need to counteract the effects of these processes, and this is where exercise can help. Exercise is known to help flush bacteria out of the lungs and heart, increase the number of white blood cells produced and causes changes in antibodies that our body requires. This makes them more sensitive to antigens, and therefore able to attach to antigens to help fight disease and illnesses. Exercise is also known to increase your heart strength and lung capacity. You are able to pump blood around the body at a much faster rate and deliver more oxygen to your cells for energy production. As a result, your body is able to fight off more infections, you feel less fatigued and stay healthier as you get older. Exercise also helps to reduce the risk of age related diseases such as cancers, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. So when you look at all the issues that one can deal with as we get older, it gives us all the more reason to make time for a bit of training and elevating our heart rate on a regular basis.

Another great benefit of exercising is keeping our muscles, tendons and ligaments strong as we get older. Too often we see older people getting less and less mobile. We see more people becoming sedentary, flexibility reduces and movements that one does not think about in daily life become too hard to perform. By exercising regularly, our body is able to remember the movements in comparison to those who never exercise and therefore do not utilise their muscles. We should be looking at performing at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to maintain our strength and muscle function. Using equipment such as weights, therabands and even our own body weight can help to reduce the loss of muscle function as we get older. One can include cardiovascular training, such as walking, swimming or jogging, to help keep our heart, lungs, limbs and core strong. If your muscles and bones are strong, it also assists in maintaining your spine strength and posture. Having good posture when you are getting older helps to eliminate the risk of injuries, back pain and bone degeneration. This in turn leaves you with better mobility, movement strength and range of motion.

So instead of spending hundreds of rands on special anti-aging face creams and oils, look at the bigger picture. Not only can exercise help you with better skin and tighter muscles, it can help with sleeping better, more energy, better immunity to fight diseases and an overall healthier body. No amount of money will get you looking as radiant as you do after a good training session. So get those shoes on and the sweat towel out. The future you will be grateful you did!