This seems like a riddle! How do you manage to grow old, yet stay young? Like any riddle, the answer is clever, but simple— don’t believe most of what you’ve read about ageing.

While getting older is inevitable, it does not mean that you’ll end up forgetfully hobbling about, feeling forgotten and alone. Quite the opposite! Choose the other, better option where you are in your 60S, 70s or 80s and still doing the things you love to do.

Look around. There are people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who are still biking, hiking, dancing, inventing, teaching, and having some of the best days of their lives because they didn’t believe what they read about getting older.

Instead of meeting the expectation of becoming less, they decided to create the expectation of becoming more.

They continue to learn and live life to its fullest and don’t have any plans of stopping soon. Their goal, Helen’s goal, and your goal should be to live that riddle—grow old yet stay young.

Update Your Thinking

To start, your views on ageing, body maintenance, and health are going to need a major update. Not because you’re getting older, but because research shows how much of what we’ve been taught, even as recently as five to ten years ago, is wrong. (Several top-selling infomercial products come to mind, and you might even have the books and DVDs still in your home.)

That means how you approach fitness needs to change, too. Let’s think about how you’ve exercised up until now:

  • Are you someone who doesn’t like to exercise and thinks, “I don’t want (or need) to lose weight, so I don’t really need to exercise.”?
  • Are you an occasional exerciser who says, “I only need to lose a little bit of weight, so I’ll just do a little bit of exercise.”?
  • Are you someone who feels like you need to lose a lot of weight, and you’re frozen in fear and dread because that means “a lot of exercise!”?

In all of these situations, exercise equals weight loss, but that’s not where we’re headed. Exercise may lead to weight loss, but it’s about so much more than that, especially as we get older.

In fact, many of us are not at a healthy or unhealthy weight based on the amount of exercise we get (or don’t get). For instance, you can probably think of someone who is very active, yet significantly overweight. Or, you may know people who are at a healthy weight, but don’t exercise at all (which, as you’ll see, doesn’t make them “lucky”).

The truth is, exercise is important for many different health outcomes, and those other outcomes become more important as we get older. Of course, weight loss or weight management is one of the benefits, but quite possibly nowhere near the most important. But, before you abandon reading on … let’s get real about our modern understanding of exercise because these factors can dramatically improve your quality of life in so many ways, including your ability to finally drop those unwanted kilos.

Exercise for the Right Reasons

So, why work out if it’s not to lose weight? Good question! Let’s break it down into the short-term and long-term perks of exercising. Ultimately, you’ll agree that exercise is the best form of medicine for your overall health.

Benefits for Today

On a day-to-day basis, exercise makes you feel better. Research has shown that the benefits of exercise include:

  • More energy
  • Better mood
  • Mental clarity
  • Decreased depression
  • Stronger internal motivation
  • Greater confidence
  • Stronger body
  • Stronger joints
  • Reduced arthritis pain Renewed after 50 12
  • Better cardiac health and blood flow
  • Reduced risk for stroke and many diseases

Just imagine how different your life would be if you were even 10% happier, if your thinking was clearer, or if you had a bit more pep in your step. Imagine how you would feel if you weren’t tired every day after work, if your joints didn’t ache, and if your back wasn’t tight in the morning. Exercise can do that!

In fact, researchers have found that the mere act of movement releases powerful endorphins in your brain that make you feel good. You may not love every moment of the hard work on your body, but you should always end up literally feeling great about what you’ve just done for yourself. That’s “the buzz” we aim for, and it is something you gain from your daily workouts.

Benefits for the Future

Now that you’re exercising and feeling great on a daily basis, what’s next? You can start thinking about the long-term benefits of your new workout regime.

Think about your invisible health! Exercise has anti-inflammatory benefits that impact every system in the body— blood flow, pain relief via the nervous system, and even lymphatic drainage which helps our body flush out toxins. Exercise reduces the risk of stroke, brain-related diseases, diabetes, and an increasing number of other diseases that we once thought were simply a factor of growing old.

How great would it be to hear your doctor say you’re in the best shape of your life? And what if your weekend plans included hiking excursions to national parks or volunteering.

 Sounds good, right? Now, think even further into the future. What if 15 years from now your health is so good in retirement that you’re planning holidays around a new favourite sport like hiking through the jungles of South America, mountain biking in Tasmania, or snow skiing in Europe?

When you start to realize that working out is the best way to achieve the other things you desire most (and to avoid the diseases and pains you don’t want), you discover working out isn’t punishment—it’s genius! The risks we take when we’re not practicing a balanced physical routine could be considered almost criminally risky behaviour to ourselves!

Exercise is a gift to our body that restores us and keeps us young. But, as we look at more and more research, we realize that the more we exercise, the younger our body stays.

These are the fun, tangible rewards that exercising can create for you for today, tomorrow, next year, and the next several decades.

“Get excited about your health your age and your future”.