Each of us has 2 different ages: 1) chronological age, 2) biological age. Chronological age is the number of years one has been alive. Biological age is an estimation of how an individual is functioning in comparison to others who are the same chronological age. In other words, it is an age where the body is in terms of ‘wear and tear’. 1
These days, life expectancy is increasing. Maintaining the correct diet along with exercising can help to prevent disease and help to manage those diseases already established.
As aging occurs most of the organs and tissues of the body begin to decline in function:
- Muscle strength declines and bones may weaken, often resulting in falls that may be disabling.
- The skin undergoes visible changes and the ability to heal wounds may become impaired.
- The immune system does not function as well as it did when one was younger.
- The nervous system also declines in its function.
However, in many cases, rapid biological aging and the onset of physical dependency may be postponed/delayed through healthy eating and exercising, both the body and the brain.
Exercising the brain will also help to improve brain function, and maintain memory and thinking skills as aging occurs. Perform mental workouts, challenge yourself to learn new things, including those perceived as difficult. “Use it or Lose it”.
Even people in their 90’s can become stronger and increase the size of their muscles after participating in a weight-training regimen. Mobility will also be improved.
The loss of muscle mass and function does not have to be an inevitable and irreversible consequence of aging. People who keep fit by maintaining an ideal weight and eating properly into their later years have a better chance of being biologically younger than their chronological age.
1 Nancy L., “Altering Your Biological Age” , NancyLFitness blog, https://nancylfitness.com/2013/07/21/altering-your-biological-age/
Try these exercises shown below to start your journey toward a younger biological age.
Consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.
Dumbbell Side Bend (for the Abs)
- Standing straight, hold a dumbbell (or similar) in the right hand.
- Tighten the abs (abdominal muscles).
- Bend to the right, as far as possible.
- Return to standing.
- Repeat 8-10 times on the right side.
- Do the same with the left side.
Standing Front Raise (for shoulder flexion)
- Stand with or without holding a weight in the right hand at side.
- Keeping elbow straight, raise up arm as far as your range of motion allows.
- Slowly lower arm.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
- Do the same with the left arm.
Wall Push-Up (for the chest, shoulders and triceps)
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width; place both hand palms on a wall at shoulder height.
- With hands on the wall, step back until arms are straight.
- Keeping heels on the floor, body straight and elbows up, bend elbows to lean toward the wall.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Bearing body weight on the arms push away from the wall back to starting position.
- Do 10-15 repetitions.
- Increase the number of repetitions as you become more strong.
Note: To increase difficulty and strengthen the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists and hands move your feet 3 or more feet farther away from the wall.
Wall sit (for legs and buttocks)
- Lean your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and solidly on the floor.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles (abs) and put your feet forward.
- Keeping feet 6 inches apart, slide down the wall until knees are at 90 ° (knees are directly over the ankles; thighs are parallel to the floor).
- Hold for this position ~10 seconds or until you can no longer stand it (use this amount of time as a starting point, extend the amount of hold time later when you are stronger).
- Upon completion, return to the starting position by sliding UP the wall.
Chair sit-up (for lower back)
- Sit up straight in a chair with feet on the floor, hands to sides for support.
- Hold a weight at chest, if desired. (If just starting with exercise you may want to exclude the weight.)
- Bend forward at the waist, keeping lower back straight, move chest to tops of thighs.
- Slowly straighten back up, using your lower back muscles to raise your torso.