To be human is to be programmed to be lazy. Our ancestors never knew where the next meal was coming from. That meant they had to manage their resources and not waste effort on unnecessary movement.
In the first world and the 21st century, the complete opposite applies. We have an abundance of food, a safe place to live and no real need to make any effort at all. Hunting and gathering has been replaced by button pushing and online shopping. The problem is that we expect to live rather longer than the caveman life expectancy of 35 years.
There’s no escape – we need to exercise for all sorts of good reasons. New research adds ‘ living longer’ to that list.
The benefits of controlled weight, a stronger heart, stronger bones and toned muscles are well known. All these things reduce the chances of degenerative body changes. In addition, exercise has been shown to have positive effects on the brain.
All these effects give us a better quality of life, but only now has research shown that exercise can actually slow down the ageing process.
The research compared a group of regular cyclists aged 55 to 79 with a similarly aged group who did not take regular exercise. All the participants were basically healthy, and none were smokers or heavy drinkers.
The regular cyclists did not show loss of muscle mass or strength and their body fat levels had not increased with age. Their immune systems also seemed to be as strong as those of younger people. The males in the group even had testosterone levels more usual in those half their age.
The conclusion is that it is possible to stave off age-related deterioration.
So get off the sofa and head for the gym, the running track or the pool. It is proven to work for a better today and a longer tomorrow.