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Life Lessons: Best exercises to reverse aging

We often associate getting older with slowing down, but the reverse may be true. Slowing down is what makes you feel older.

As you age your muscles become a use-it-or-lose-it situation. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, generally fit Americans age 65 and older should be doing two and a half hours of exercise a week.

But there’s one mode of exercise in particular that actually stops the aging process in your cells.

Everyone knows exercise is important, but as you age the way you exercise also becomes important. That’s what Mayo Clinic researchers found when they studied three groups of people 65 and older.

One group did vigorous weight training. Another group did high-intensity interval training: cycling hard for four minutes, resting for three. The third group did moderate cycling and weight lifting.

After 12 weeks all three groups improved their overall fitness and decreased their likelihood of developing diabetes, but the group that showed the biggest benefit at a cellular level is the one that did high-intensity interval training. They saw a 69 percent increase in their cells ability to create more proteins that boost energy production and stop the aging process.

But interval training was not good for building muscles, so researchers suggest an exercise regimen that includes both. Cycle or run three times a week, then lift weights two days a week. Keep this up as you age and when you turn 70 you won’t feel a day over 50.

Numerous studies have shown that exercise is also good for the brain, but specifically exercises that move your legs and arm across your body – like lifting your right knee and touching it with your left elbow and doing the same on the opposite side.

These are known as hemispheric exercises; they activate both the left and right sides of your brain and strengthen the neural pathways that typically deteriorate with age.

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