7 Science-Based Reasons Exercise Slows Down The Aging Process

Exercise isn't coined the 'fountain of youth' for nothing; there is so much science to show that choosing an active lifestyle of fitness supports optimal body function and significantly reduces the rate...

October 7, 2021

Exercise isn't coined the 'fountain of youth' for nothing; there is so much science to show that choosing an active lifestyle of fitness supports optimal body function and significantly reduces the rate of chronic disease, injury, frailty, and immobility. Even though my body might not be in the same shape, it was 25 years ago, because I don't play competitive sports and train like an athlete anymore, I am still very active daily. I love to meet a friend for a workout, tennis, or volleyball a couple of times a week, and I pretty much go on a daily mini-adventure with my girls! I've always studied exercise, nutrition, and science throughout my education, but I wish I knew sooner, how closely the correct forms of physical activity play an important role in reversing and slowing down the aging process. We all know that exercise can help improve our metabolism as well as help us' burn calories' (no complaints about that!), but there is so much more. Our bodies are designed to move, and doing this helps us stay healthy and strong, which also greatly helps to slow down the signs of aging if done regularly and starting at any age!You'll make a huge positive impact on your long-term health by adding effective and regular exercise into our daily routine along with the proper recovery methods such as stretching, nutrients, and hydration. It's important to incorporate other healthy habits like getting a good night's sleep, having a positive attitude, and keeping stress levels low for the best results in your fight against premature aging. Today I'm sharing seven of my favorite science-based reasons why exercise slows down the aging process and helps you look and feel younger. Each one has some powerful benefits, so pick one new habit or combine them together for a huge positive outcome for your overall health.

1. Increase Your Energy

You may have noticed that when you exercise, you have more energy and end up getting more done in the day. I personally have found this especially true if I exercise first thing in the morning. The University of Colorado did a study that shows that adults who participate in jogging and other aerobic activities tend to have a faster metabolic rate than those who are sedentary. [1] That doesn’t mean you have run everywhere! Walking, cycling and other aerobic exercises have been shown to be just as effective at boosting your energy level and keep you feeling young.

2. Boost Your Metabolic Rate

It's common knowledge that as you get older, your metabolism tends to naturally slow down. [2] This means that you will burn fewer calories when you're participating in activities or are in a state of rest and can result in weight gain even if you're eating healthy. I can definitely vouch that this is a true statement, but I am very grateful for my overall health that my diet does not look like it did in college! Incorporate weight training into your daily routine to help build muscle mass, which has been shown to help burn fat at a quicker rate, help you to maintain a healthy weight, and lead to fewer health problems overall as you get older. [3]. Fun fact: the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even while sleeping! It's a win-win situation in my book!

3. Helps to Relieves Stress

Life is full of stressors that we face every day. You may have found that when you participate in physical activity such as a HIIT workout, walk, hike, or bike ride, you start to feel a calm come over you shortly after you start to exercise. This is because the body releases endorphins when we workout that provides a relaxing and anxiety-reducing effect, or even a 'runner' s-high'.If you incorporate meditation or yoga into your daily routine, you will have a similar effect that will allow you to reduce adrenaline and cortisol (our stress hormone) and have more control of your heart rate and provide a long term positive effect on your aging process.  

4. Improve Your Posture

'Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?'...as cute as Ray was on Jerry Maguire, he actually underestimated! The average adult human head weighs 10-11lbs! As you get older, your body will experience a drastic change in bone density and muscle loss, which can make that head jut forward, and your posture suffers. Incorporating regular exercise in proper posture, and core strength training in your routine will help you naturally improve your posture and help you stand straighter. If you ever see me covering one of the personal trainers' classes when my fitness studio, R3BIlt, is in a pinch, you will always hear me cue the members into correct spinal alignment before every movement. So while the gym is closed, take the time right now to put that 10-pound head back right on top of your completely erect spine, and your phone or computer at eye level as you read this!

5. Get Better Sleep

Oddly, I don't require as much sleep as the average human, but if I don’t get 5-6 hours of solid continuous sleep, my entire day is out of wack. As you may have experienced from personal experience, a lack of sleep can quickly have a negative effect on your natural aging process. You truly feel and look older, and like me, you may have very honest kids or friends who tell you...as if you didn’t already notice at first glance in the mirror! Exercise is a great way to help you fall asleep quicker at night if you’re one of those people who desperately try counting sheep at night with no luck. Stay active during the day so you can get some much-needed beauty sleep, so you’re ready to take on the world tomorrow! Research has shown that regular exercise can lead people to fall asleep quicker than those who don’t exercise and will more likely experience deep REM sleep. Just 150 minutes of exercise per week can have a positive impact on your sleep quality by over 65%. [4]  Check out my sleep hacks and tips blog for more ways to fall asleep and stay asleep for a full 8 hours.

6. Slow Your Cellular Aging

Exercise slows down the aging process in your chromosomes and can help you feel younger.  Telomeres, the caps at the end of your chromosomes control how rapidly your body ages and become shorter as you get older. Studies have shown a positive link between people who regularly exercise and lengthening of telomeres. This means that exercise very well may help to slow the clock allowing you to live a longer, healthier life even from a cellular level. [5]

7. Protection From Heart Disease

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for adults in the United States? It’s time that we did something about that. Regular workouts have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems that are more common as we age. Exercise improves circulation and levels of good cholesterol, known as HDL that protect your heart. Without regular exercise, you could experience high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides that tend to block or harden your arteries, and can lead to heart disease, the number one killer of women in the United States, according to the CDC. [6]It also helps to improve your heart functions as it tends to become weak without movement and has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Don’t forget the heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised for optimal health too! A moderate amount of exercise each week can help to keep your heart strong and will allow it to pump oxygen-rich blood effectively throughout your body with less strain.

Exercise Will Keep You Feeling Young

Physical exercise slows down the aging process and remains the single best remedy for delaying and preventing the negative consequences of getting older. I want to feel as good as I do now,  for as long as humanly possible, so I always try to stay active, and as a gym owner at R3bilt, I enjoy helping others to do the same. Overall, exercise is a great way to stay active and keep yourself feeling young, healthy, and happy, no matter your age. The best part is just 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week will have a positive impact on your health. [7] So, it’s totally doable. Start today to stay healthy and young for years to come!


[1] Emling, S. (2014, November 20). If You Are An Older Adult Who Wants To Stay Youthful, Do This Exercise. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/running-health-benefits_n_6185918[2] Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Does Metabolism Matter in Weight Loss? Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/does-metabolism-matter-in-weight-loss[3] Calculate Body Mass Index, Healthy Weight Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/healthy-weight-basics/body-mass-index.htm[4] Study: Physical activity impacts the overall quality of sleep. (2017, October 05). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2011/nov/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep[5] Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell Aging. (2020, April 13). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/09/108886/lifestyle-changes-may-lengthen-telomeres-measure-cell-aging[6] Women and Heart Disease. (2020, January 31). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm[7] Edward R. Laskowski, M. (2019, April 27). How much exercise do you really need? Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916


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