Five ways to use exercise for better health, youthfulness and weight loss
Staying healthy and youthful while maintaining body shape is something most of us would like to conquer. We can all thank exercise and good food for attaining the best results. A few other vital breadcrumbs add to those youthful years ahead. It requires lifelong commitment and expecting only the best from yourself. There will be times when you want to step away — but that’s when you need to stay put and increase your enthusiasm. You only have one body to live in — and it may as well become a vehicle in top shape for the rest of your life.
Below are my top six essentials for increasing youthfulness, health and longevity.
- Intermittent fasting
- Weight training
- Eating a diet rich in phytonutrients
- Eating less animal protein
- HIIT training
- Positivity, happiness with a winning mindset
Think of sportsmen and women whose fitness & nutrition regiment has kept them in top form, and at a high level, well into their 30s. Taking Roger Federer (late ‘30s) and Serina Williams (late ’30s) are paving the way in dispelling myths regarding ageing, sports performance and the importance of mindset.
The consensus states that HIIT is an excellent option to tackle every week. First, get your heart rate up to 80% of its maximum rate for 10–30 minutes, twice a week. Once you become accustomed to that, you should get to a level where it’s unpleasant, and you need to stop because you won’t be able to keep it up. High-intensity training benefits your body on a cellular level. Weight training and incidental exercise improve your overall fitness levels and metabolism. Another component of exercise, which is very important (and my favourite of course), is strength training. It aids in preventing fractures and injuries later in life and increases cognitive function. Let’s not also forget that strength training builds muscle mass, which keeps our metabolism running high and aids in the maintenance of a steady weight. Losing your muscle mass (through in-activity) puts you at risk of insulin resistance, weight gain, and chronic inflammation. It’s crucial to keep weight training for life and make that an essential part of your weekly workout routine. As Bill Gifford said, “Ageing makes us fat, and then our fat makes us age.” Most other health, joint and cognitive issues can be rectified and reversed through frequent vigorous exercise. This is why elite athletes continue to succeed well past their supposed used by date. It’s not that they train more; they train more efficiently, utilising different methods periodically to keep challenging their bodies. Other critical factors towards achieving this are food quality, sleep, and rest. These essential factors help in repairing damaged tissue, cell regeneration and youthfulness. Gone are the days of continuously slamming yourself to the wall at the gym. Instead, high-intensity intervals, weight lifting and proper nutrition can be used as your best anti-ageing strategy.
Here are five lifestyle factors to help you combat ageing
One: Exercise for at least 20–40 minutes per day
This could include walking, weight training, HIIT or a yoga class. Aim to be active every day, constantly challenging yourself physically and mentally. Active recovery can be a form of exercise too. This should be low impact in between your training. I never limit my activity on rest days. Instead, I still do exercises like walking, stretching, and even foam rolling. This is because it’s essential to keep your body moving as much as possible. Try to limit sitting in a chair for one hour only, and then get up and have a walk around.
Two: Build on your weight training goals
Start with lighter weights, and keep building upon that. Use compound movements such as squatting, dead-lifting, bench pressing and pull-ups. The better you perform these exercises, the stronger and leaner you will become. These movements generate the most hormonal changes, firing up your metabolism, burning body fat and reshaping your physique faster. That’s why I always recommend them whenever I write about weight training.
Three: Be done with diets and eat well
Eating a diet filled with high-grade protein, veggies, fats, and carbs is essential. Try carb cycling to lose more body fat and keep your weight steady. Protein is required to build and maintain muscle mass — but it’s still a contributor to weight gain. So make sure you eat small quantities yet focus on vegetables and seasonal live foods. High fibre diets help increase your gut permeability, weight loss and longevity. So learn to love your guts and feed the good bacteria well! As we age, this needs to be taken into consideration.
Four: Intermittent fasting is a profound anti-ageing option
To suit your lifestyle, you can alternate your feeding and fasting window. Fasting regenerates our entire bodies on a cellular level. It also boosts our metabolism and helps make it work even more effectively. When fasting, you activate your human growth hormone, which is the key to longevity. Keep doing this on a long-term basis to reap the results.
As stated above, sleep is essential for your well-being and health. Aim to get 7–8 hours a night, more if you feel it’s needed. If you strength train, you must make sleep your main priority. What you do outside the gym will give you the best results when trying to gain muscle mass and lose body fat.
Whilst there is no natural step towards anti-ageing through exercise, you can use several alternatives to keep your body and mind youthful. I’m not opposed to forms of cosmetic treatment — if you find that other options do not help. However, there are also many subtle ways to change your body shape through less evasive alternatives, which might require a lot of money and time. Whatever you decide to pick, always integrate the basics of nutrition and exercise to help you.
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