Drivers of rapid ageing: EXERCISING AND OVER EXERCISING
When it comes to your health and finding healthy habits sometimes too much of a good thing can backfire, and this massively goes for exercise. While movement and physical activity is wonderful and important to do every day it is very possible to be doing more harm than good. While the majority of the population are guilty of too little exercise there is such a thing as putting too much strain on the body by exercising too frequently and too intensely.
Positives: Most people, who exercise simply feel better, are more positive and enjoy life more as exercise releases endorphins; the feel good hormones that guard against depression and anxiety and make us feel good. Moderate weekly exercise can help in supporting with weight loss, improve cellular function, induce deeper sleep, keep mobility and flexibity in check and get your heart rate up. Physical activity actually reduces the risk of age-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, potentially extending longevity overall. It’s fantastic for our overall wellbeing even boosting our immune system. A brisk 30-minute walk each day is a great and very simple easy way to incorporate a little movement into your day. Some other easy ideas below!
• Start taking the stairs instead of the lift
• Get off the bus a stop or two early
• Take a walk in your lunch break
• Take up a hobby or a sport, such as swimming, cycling, walking, yoga and stretching
• Everyday movement adds up- chores like household cleaning and food shopping all adds up.
Active people can live about five years longer on average than inactive people. It’s not just our physical health and appearances that can benefit it can also massively affect the aging in our brain and mental health also; Exercise helps keep our brain cells healthy, keeps the blood vessels delivering plenty of oxygen to the brain, enhances the connections between brain cells, and may even help grow new brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible age related problem that so many are facing now , but it turns out that about 50% of the risk of Alzheimer’s is linked to our lifestyle behaviours and choices- exercise being one of the things that we can control.
Negatives: While a thumping heart and a good sweat is great on a regular basis there is such a thing as too much of it. Cardio can be helpful and beneficial when performed moderately but if doing everyday excessively then it does absolutely nothing to slow the aging process. It can do the opposite. Hitting the gym and doing long frequent cardio sessions will break down your muscles and increase the production of free radicals. These free radicals that I spoke about in my previous posts can damage the cells in your body and accelerate aging. After extensive periods of time exercising (or a very long hard run consistently everyday) the body changes its metabolism, with a resulting increase in free radicals, atoms that can cause permanent damage to your cells and can also speed up the ageing process.
So takeaways from this post would be to really find the balance between too little and too much. No one body is the same, our lifestyles and eating patterns are all different so listen to your body and do what’s right for you here.
Drivers of rapid ageing: TOXINS
What do I mean by toxins? It sounds very drastic I know… But unfortunately these substances and things we are exposed to everyday are just that- toxic to our bodies and the ageing process. Toxins are what I will be calling drugs, alcohol, environmental e.g. pollution, smoking and sugar in this scenario.
Environmental toxins may be one of the main causes of rapid ageing today. Think about what we are exposed to day in and day out, smoke, UV rays, pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, perfumes, parabens, fragrances etc. These toxins in our everyday environment can introduce free radicals in the body, in essence fuelling the processes behind oxidative stress resulting in premature ageing.
We all know how dangerous smoking can be for our health in general, lungs in particular but have you ever stopped to think about what its doing to the skin. The tobacco smoke itself contains free radicals which are inhaled into our bodies causing a range of problems including premature skin ageing. It’s the same with alcohol and drugs.
If you take steps to protect and heal your body now by avoiding certain things and making some small lifestyle changes you can slow this cell-level aging process and even reverse some of the effects.
First, you can limit the number of toxins you consume. Steer clear of foods that have been treated with pesticides or at the very least, consider purchasing organic versions of produce that falls on the “Dirty Dozen” list (these are the 12 fruits and vegetables that tend to be treated with the most pesticides).
• Avoid smoking tobacco and even breathing in second-hand smoke
• Circulate fresh air in your home whenever possible
• Avoid areas known for heavy air pollution (I know this is a tricky one)
• Avoid toxic household goods, swap your cleaning products for eco friendlier versions
• Ditch plastic bottles and look for bpa free
• Try non-toxic cosmetics, there’s lots of brands out there n the market that will clearly state that they are free from certain toxins/parabens.
• Consider going sugar free. Try a piece of fruit and a handful of seeds/nuts mid-morning instead of a sugary granola bar/muffin
We all know the dangers of too much sugar- bad teeth, weight gain, inflammation, dull complexion, diabetes, disease, poor mental performance/brain fog, gut problems, hormone imbalance’s etc. The list goes on of sugars negative impact on us but did you know that sugar can massively affect the aging process. High sugar intake contributes to aging, both internally—where most of the damage is done and externally- where you may notice it first. When there’s too much glucose (sugar molecules) in the blood, it sticks to proteins, which can be found in the walls of all our cells. When glucose sticks to cells, it covers surface structures that are integral to cell identification and communication. For example glucose can stick to receptors (think a plug hole and hormones are the plug!) for hormones. When hormones can’t access these receptors, they can’t affect change in the cell. It’s believed that this scenario can influence degenerative conditions and age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s by blocking hormones needed to maintain neural connections. It can also decrease your sensitivity to insulin (the hormone that allows cells to absorb glucose from the blood), meaning blood sugar stays high for unhealthy lengths of time, which leads to even more chronic health problems and rapid ageing.
So that’s going on in the inside but what about a high and constant sugar intake affecting the outside- our appearance. We may avoid sugary sweets before an event, or if we want to clear up a little acne for instance but sugar actually goes a little further and affects us ‘’skin deep’’. Collagen, a molecule made of chains of proteins and designed to hold neighbouring cells together, provides structure and strength to body tissues (like skin, bones, joints, muscles and organs). It’s what makes skin smooth and supple and joints limber too. However too much sugar in your diet can interfere with the formation of collagen, making it more likely to wear down earlier in life (premature ageing) Sugar also prevents proper repair of damaged collagen, leading to wrinkles and stiffening joints.
Take a look at your lifestyle this week and see what every day toxins your exposing yourself too that be contributing to some early ageing.