The Not So Secret to Defying Age — Getting Fit.
In 2011 Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a Genetic metabolic neurologist, studied mice with a terrible genetic disease that caused them to age prematurely. Over the course of five months, half of the mice were kept sedentary and the other half were coaxed to run three times a week on a miniature treadmill.
By the end of the study, the sedentary mice were barely hanging on. The fur that had not yet fallen out grew coarse and gray, muscles shriveled, hearts weakened, skin thinned–even the mice’s hearing got worse. “They were shivering in the corner, about to die” Tarnopolsky says.
But the group of mice that exercised were nearly indistinguishable from healthy mice. Their coats were sleek and black, they ran around their cages, they could even reproduce. “We almost completely prevented the premature aging in the animals” Tarnopolsky says.
That’s remarkable news if you are a mouse. And though there are obvious differences between rodents and humans, Tarnopolsky has seen something similar happen in his ill patients. “I’ve seen all the hype about gene therapy for people with genetic disease”–Tarnopolsky treats kids with severe genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy – “but it hasn’t delivered in the 25 years I’ve been doing this,” he says. “The most effective therapy available to my patients right now is exercise. If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.”
Science has proven that exercise positively impacts the heart, muscles, lungs and bones. But scientists are now also finding that it slows aging at the cellular level and improves brain function as well. In fact, exercise is currently the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
You would imagine that people, even whole families, would be rushing out to join a gym. However, only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week. More than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity is similar for both men and women (about 36 percent).
U.S. schools have seen gym classes cut from the curriculum; nearly half of high school students don’t have weekly PE class, and only 15% of elementary schools require PE at least three days a week for the school year. The result: the majority of American kids and adolescents have so-called exercise-deficit disorder. Meanwhile, childhood-obesity rates have climbed every year since 1999. “You have whole generations that are soured on exercise,” says Jack Berryman, professor emeritus of medical history at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Even as we continue to learn more about just how vital exercise is, more and more people are actually becoming sedentary, overweight, and obese at an alarming rate. 80% of those who do venture out to join a gym quit within 5 months — and women are more likely to quit than men.
I’ve been a master fitness trainer for 6 years and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. I can tell you through experience that the main reason so many people quit or neglect to work out is lack of knowledge. Not just the knowledge that exercise is good for you, but how to exercise correctly — how to design a successful program customized to individual needs and goals.
There is more to exercising than people think. When we are sick we go to the doctor. When our car breaks down we take it to the mechanic. But only 13.5% of people who start exercising seek professional help. It is no wonder so many people fail and quit. 86.5% of people have no idea what they are doing.
When people don’t get the knowledge they need, one of three things usually happens:
- They are intimidated by weight training and mostly do cardio. That may be “better than nothing” but unfortunately lacks the capability to bring about meaningful change.
- People get injured. Copying what others do or following workouts seen in books, magazines or on YouTube can be extremely dangerous. Each person is unique with his/her own injury history, imbalances, metabolisms, and body types. Having a program custom designed by a professional instructor is essential and safer. Plus, it can save hours/days/months of extra work.
- People may start a balanced program in the beginning and have good initial results. However, a month or so into it they lack the knowledge to make progress with their program. They plateau and then due to the lack of further results, they give up.
Exercise is a key to living life to its fullest. It is a key to looking and feeling younger. It is a key to preventing or recovering from health issues. Don’t let the three biggest reasons people fail be the reason you can’t get the most out of your life.
08 Feb, 2017