What Can Just 30 Days of Exercise Do to Your Body?
by Suzanne Andrews
There is no question today that a life of physical activity is a healthier life. In just thirty days you can improve the functioning of almost every system in your body, from the essential microscopic cells to the heart, joints, and muscles. It would appear that it is possible to slow down and in some case reverse the aging process by regularly exercising. Even for those who have never been very active physically before, a carefully planned program can make a significant difference in restoring youthfulness to your body. For those who have experienced injury, a physical therapist can help you get your strength and mobility back in a much shorter time than if you choose to just relax and let the aging process do its miserable work on you and your body.
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New research from a British study of twins indicates that aging may actually be stalled within the cellular infrastructure by choosing to incorporate an active exercise regimen into your lifestyle. According to Prof. Tim D.Specter, in an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, tiny telomeres, little caps on the ends of your DNA that protect it from unraveling, seem to be snipped off a bit every time your cells divide. When they become too short to function and protect the integrity of your DNA, cell division stops and aging sets in. While young people have relatively long telomeres whether they exercise or not, by middle age, inactive adults have telomeres that may be as much as 40% shorter. However, those who exercise may have only a 10% reduction in length, which means that cell division is continuing quite nicely and aging is much slower. Younger cells really are possible with a regular fitness regimen.
Your heart also benefits from exercise. The American Journal of Public Health recently published a study that suggests that exercise, even in the short term can make a difference, especially in men. While young hearts beat about 190-200 times a minute, pumping 4-6 quarts of blood through the body, by age 80 that same amount of blood is only being pumped about 145 times a minute because of the reduced response of the heart to the brain’s repeated signals. Regular aerobic exercise can maintain your heart condition to that of a 30 year old, especially if you have practiced a lifestyle filled with exercise. (I see this in my patients that I work with - after a month their heart is rebounding much quicker and heart rate to that of a much younger person.)
While resistance training increases your muscle strength and mass in as little as 30 days, it does it through stimulating muscle protein synthesis to prevent the typical loss of muscle that accompanies the aging process. According to Dr. Carl Freudenrich, Science Expert of How Stuff Works, regular exercise can create healthier neuromuscular junctions that increase your muscle’s youthfulness and strength.
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Even your joints can benefit from 30 days of exercise. Once again, the aging process tends to affect the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage as you get older. Painful swelling, bony overgrowths, and stiffness can accompany your joints’ attempts to keep functioning under the normal activities of life. However, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends exercise to slow down, halt, or even reverse this cycle. The worst response is to give up and do as little as possible. Experts such as physical and occupational therapists are trained to help you regain your range of motion and to slow down or stop the aging damage without hurting yourself in the process. Warming up the joint’s synovial fluid so that you have good lubrication is important at any age, but especially as you age.
Your entire body is affected as you age, but new research indicates that you can slow down the process significantly by regular exercise. In as little as thirty days you can introduce healthy changes and start to feel and see the difference. It’s your body. Don’t just sit there and let it wear out.