If the number of candles on the cake doesn't match the way you feel and you want to slow the clock there's hope. Research on exercise, nutrition and lifestyle habits to slow and reverse the aging process is exploding. Read on for seven practical tips for making the most of your anti-aging plan.
1. Walk 40 minutes three times a week helps avoid shrinkage of your hippocampus, once thought acceptable with age. A group of older adults who progressed to this moderate walking after a year actually experienced a growth in their hippocampus of 2% where the group that only stretched experienced 1.5% loss. If you're not exercising currently begin with 10 or 15 minutes three times a week. Gradually add three minutes a week to each walk to work up to 40. Don't be tempted to do more on days you feel good. Slow and steady wins.
2. Strength train three times a week with moderate weights. Middle-aged men who did so had increased mitochondria, the "powerhouse" of energy production. Once accepted that mitochondria decrease was a natural part of the aging process, researchers claimed this study shows exercise truly can reverse the aging process.
To begin a strength-training program it's best to seek advice of a fitness instructor for proper technique. Start with one set three times a week performing up to 15 repetitions of 8-10 exercises. After two or three weeks of adaptation increase to two sets. In another two or three weeks without complications increase to a third set. Next you'll increase the weight slightly so that you reduce the repetitions to 10-12.
3. Make your strength training count. Normal bone losses occur at a rate of 1-3% a year beginning at about age 35. Most prone to bone loss are post-menopausal women. Those who use a strength training protocol of heavy enough weights to fatigue at 8 or a minimum of 10 repetitions can prevent those losses from occurring.
Lifting lighter weights more repetitions does work for muscle endurance but does not have a positive effect on bone density.
4. Muscle losses occur at a rate of.8 to 1% a year after the age of 30. Though most Americans believe they eat plenty and take in adequate protein, studies show that self-reports are not accurate and protein intake is insufficient for aging individuals to maintain muscle. The exercising adult that thinks they are compensating for losses with strength training can be accelerating losses without sufficient protein intake. Research suggests that 30 gms of protein three times a day is optimal for muscle protein synthesis. High quality proteins like lean meat, fish, and dairy are best. Start by reading labels and planning carefully.
5. Eat early like a King and late like a pauper. Studies in Obesity journal showed those who ate the majority of their calories early in the day and ate lighter at lunch and lightest at dinner lost more weight than those who saved the largest meal for late in the day.
6. Continue to consume adequate amounts of calcium, not only for your bones but for weight control. Studies show that 1200 mgs of calcium after the age of 50, along with 400 IU of Vitamin D can help with belly fat loss.
Drinking dairy milk is one of the easiest ways of accomplishing this but if you don't tolerate dairy, read labels to make sure you're getting what you need. Consult your physician about a supplement if not.
7. Too little sleep could make you 30% more likely to be fat. Those who get between seven and nine hours of sleep are less likely to become obese than those with less than six hours a day. The amount of sleep time appeared a bigger weight determinant than genetics.Avoid extended afternoon naps and late day caffeine. Both can reduce quality of nighttime sleep. Try to get plenty of sunlight and fresh air during the day. A warm bath or shower two to three hours before bed can prepare your body for sleep as your body temperature comes back down. Keep the room cool. Most of all establish a routine with same time to bed and to rise.