By Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum | Posted Dec 6, 2022
Staying young. Staying vital. Staying healthy. I have never heard anyone ever say that growing old was easy or that while growing old, they wanted to feel, well…. older. Growing old is a blessing. It means we are aging, as we should, but how we get there is another story. Do we want to age “gracefully,” or do we just want to be old? Believe it or not, we do have a choice in that. I am not referring to plastic surgery, fillers, Botox, or any magical things that can change our outward appearance. I am talking about being youthful from the inside, and it is nothing magical or mysterious. It is moving; it is exercise; it is how much you find flow in your life.
As much as exercise is critically important, movement is almost more important. The idea of “flow,” of just finding a way to keep your body moving throughout the day, might be the key to longevity and youthfulness. A recent study has shown that moderate-intensity exercise for at least 40 minutes a day, along with getting up and moving during the times being awake, is essential. It showed that less than 40 minutes of exercise, along with sitting greater than 10 hours a day, was associated with shorter telomeres in the cells. These telomeres are caps on the end of DNA, protecting them from disintegrating and keeping them youthful. When these telomeres get smaller and fray, like the caps on the end of shoelaces, the cells themselves age. Flow is what protects these telomeres and keeps the cells youthful and healthy. Really, it is that simple.
So, let’s figure this out. If movement is the key to vitality and growing old gracefully, we need to figure out how to get there. No longer do we need to focus on going to a gym or finding a spa with complicated machinery to get to our exercise goals. We just need to make the time and the room in our lives to find a place to move, and to get our heart rates up for about 30-40 minutes, 5 days a week.
First, get out your calendar and put in it blocks of 40 minutes that are protected for your exercise for 5 of the days of your choosing. Decide what you want to do- walk quickly (even with hand weights), dance to your favorite music, jump rope, or find an online program to help you get your heart rate up. Then, focus on your flow throughout the day.
Aging is inevitable and a gift, but getting there with vitality and health is truly the key to a happy life. Find your flow everywhere you can. That’s all I have to say, so it’s time for you to get up and go for a short walk! Ready, set, GO!