I am not the poster child for anti-aging. But I wanted to share my experience and research that allows me to feel like I am in my 20s. The defining factor is your lifestyle and what you may or may not need to do.
Suppose you have faithfully exercised or played sports since your teens or even long before that. For example, at the age of five, I hit the ground running. I began playing soccer, baseball, basketball, and indoor soccer, every year until the age of nine. From age nine until high school, I focused on playing soccer and indoor soccer only for recreational leagues. When I started high school, I made the soccer team and became a wrestler, and I was a dual athlete for four years.
After high school at university, I stayed active in sports by playing rugby until I graduated. And post-university, I continue playing for 15 years on a men’s club team. After the rugby years, half marathons became my gig.
However, life after rugby, I remained faithful to exercise, training, and fitness. I continued aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training about 4-5 times a week until today. Training every week is and was not always perfect, but it is habitually consistent. And that is the key to anti-aging and consistency.
I must say, at the age of 49 and a half, I still feel like I am in my late 20s. I have not really lost speed or strength. There are aging effects but not as many as you would think.
Here is the research. If you have trained faithfully from a young age, the younger, the better; going into your 40s, 50s, or 60s will delay aging.
Surprisingly, this delay can last up to 30 years. So, if you have trained consistently and frequently throughout your life. At the age of 80, you will have the aerobic, anaerobic endurance, strength, speed, and power of a 50-year-old.
So, when you are 50, you will be about 20, at 60 about 30, and at 70 appear 40. The fountain of youth is not something you drink. It is something you do.
Starting exercise as a late bloomer is a kicker of a question. Can exercise help older people be a younger version of themselves? Is it too late? The answer is yes and no. You can recover and restore youth but not as much as you can if you have been exercising or playing sports from a younger age.
For example, when you’re 50 years old, you cannot reset the clock to 20, but maybe to around 40. And if you start when you’re 60, perhaps you can reset the clock to 50. Anytime a person starts to exercise, the younger version of themself emerges.
It all comes down to when and how your cells and DNA replicate. Replication is like your computer creating a restore point. It replicates the present version of the system to preserve for future use. Your cells do the same and can only restore from a point that it presently knows.
So, as you get older, cells continue to copy and replicate a younger active, healthy version of you over the years or not. A new restore point each time. Late bloomers can still restore and replicate, but just not so far back into youth. Lost time is never fully recovered. But you can make up for the lost time.
There are many anti-aging processes that happen. But another important one is called NAD. As you age, NAD is reduced by 30-50% between the ages of 40-50. The reduction of NAD deactivates a protein called sirtuins. Sirtuins are essential for repairing, rejuvenating, and regenerating your cells, DNA, and mitochondria. Consequently, sirtuins need NAD to stay activated. So, when NAD is low, the sirtuins become inactive and aging starts.
Exercise is the primary way to dramatically increase NAD levels to activate sirtuins and other anti-aging mechanisms like telomeres.
Two methods of exercise work significantly to delay aging- HIIT and endurance aerobic training.
In a study, after six months of performing HIIT and endurance training, not weight training, they both boosted NAD levels, increased mitochondria (cells that make NAD and energy), and activated the sirtuins considerably.
HIIT is more effective than endurance training. But endurance training is still very beneficial and potent as well. So do which routine is best for you, or you can incorporate both.
Understand that during the aging process, the training effects diminish in about 5 days. When I miss a few days, I feel the difference. So, consistency is the key to anti-aging and longevity.
Even if it’s not doing HIIT or aerobic training, doing recreational activities or sports consistently is perfect.
So, my recommendation, don’t be sedentary. Avoid it as much as possible. Sedentary life will promote the aging process sooner than it should start. And when aging starts, sedentary life exacerbates aging.
I can’t tell you when aging is going to happen. When the aging process begins, you can’t stop it, only slow it down. How you slow down depends on when you started or start exercising or playing sports.
Everyone needs to understand exercise and its effects on disease and longevity. Because when you are young, you are not aware of it. And when you get older, you cannot recover a very young version of yourself. Yet, starting is never too late.
Parents, if you’re 20, 30, 40, or 50 years old, get started now. Be the role model for your children. Teach your children that playing sports and exercising is an essential part of maintaining youth as they get older.
If you are not a parent and under 20, understand that your youth is preservable, but exercise needs to be regular and frequent.
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