Focus on the FutureREAD MORE
A study by researchers in Hamilton, Ontario, published in 2011, found dramatic anti-aging effects in rodents who engaged in strenuous aerobic exercise, compared with a sedentary group. This study focused on the function of the subjects' mitochondria, the microscopic power generators in cells. As mitochondria proliferate, they can develop genetic abnormalities. The body knows how to repair these, but as many abnormalities accumulate, the repair system can become overwhelmed. Mitochondria can die off, which causes the cells they serve to become undernourished and die, too.
The Canadian researchers studied mice that had no mitochondrial repair function. The sedentary ones grew frail. Their muscles fell slack, the hearts became enlarged and they soon had patchy, graying fur. All of these mice died before one year. The exercising mice, however, were another story. They ran on a wheel at a brisk pace for 45 minutes, three times a week. At 8 months of age, while their sedentary counterparts were falling apart, the exercisers had rich, dark fur, and nearly all of the muscle mass and brain volume they had started with. These exercise aficionados had strong hearts and good balance. Some mice! LESS
Fortify Your BonesCells called osteoclasts are responsible for breaking down old bone tissue. Cells called osteoblasts then lay down new tissue. Later, calcium phosphate and other minerals are deposited among the matrix of new cells, hardening the bone. Over time, if the osteoblasts don't keep up the pace, not enough new tissue is formed and bones can because too porous. The complex hormonal changes of menopause interfere with bone remodeling, which is especially risky since most women have less bone density than men do to begin with. READ MORE
Building up bone density throughout your early years is like putting money in the bank. Down the line, when time slows down your body's natural bone-building processes, you will be much less likely to suffer from osteoporosis, stress fractures and other structural damage if you have saved up strength in your bones. Challenge yourself with moderate weight-bearing exercise as a young adult to pile up reserves of bone density. You'll need it! LESS
Your Young BrainREAD MORE
Another thing about our brains: they are more likely to respond to immediate rewards than to far-off goals, such as good health decades from now. How can you stay motivated through the day-to-day routine of regular exercise to gain big payoffs later? You will have to identify the short-term, day-to-day payoffs. Savor the warm, glowing feeling of recovery from a vigorous workout, and focus on achieving that feeling of accomplishment when you are at the most challenging part of your exercise. Join forces with friends or family members to make exercise a social activity—or choose your physical activity time to be one of solitude and focus, if you have constant interactions with others throughout the day. Find the element of exercise you can enjoy in the moment, and keep the long-term payoff in the back of your mind. LESS