Does Exercise Age You?

As a physician, Dr. Buford knows that healthy eating and regular physical activity are important elements in his patients’ well-being. And every year thousands of Americans decide to improve the course of their lives through diet and exercise.

If you’ve been reading his blog regularly, you know that Dr. Buford is a huge supporter of healthful living. We recently came across a series about the effects of exercise on the body. Inspired by that post, we’d like to share a few of the facts about the benefits of exercise. But first, we’d also like to dispel a myth or two.

Let’s start with a big one: Does exercise make you look older? There was a lot of hype a couple of years ago about “runner’s face,” or the loss of volume in the face seen in many long-distance runners. Some experts think than any premature facial aging that might occur from vigorous exercise is actually the result of free-radical damage called oxidative stress, not the loss of body fat. Not to worry, though—a 2008 study revealed that cell damage occurs only after 90 minutes of exercise at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is very strenuous activity. As with most things, moderation is the key, so you should definitely continue to enjoy the many benefits of regular exercise.

Another familiar myth is that high-impact exercise makes the breasts sag. There may be some truth to this, as the skin envelope and the ligaments in the breasts do stretch over time. One thing is certain: A proper-fitting sports bra can make exercise more comfortable for women with large breasts, especially women with augmented breasts.

You could write a book about the many benefits of exercise! You can actually see the positive effects of exercise on the largest organ of the body, which is the skin; a glowing complexion is one of the big-time results of regular workouts. Exercise increases blood flow, which provides oxygen to the cells and helps rid the body of toxins.

Don’t you always feel better after a workout? That’s because physical activity makes the brain release endorphins, which makes you feel blissful or euphoric. Chances are your sleep will improve, too.

Exercise helps control your weight—even walking up and down the stairs in your home or office can help burn calories. It also boosts your good cholesterol (HDL), helping keep cardiovascular diseases at bay. Exercise can help manage a number of other health issues, from type 2 diabetes to depression.

So, if you’ve been considering changing your lifestyle, start now. Join a gym, sign up for a yoga class, take a hike, or just use the stairs every day instead of the elevator! Regular exercise makes your life better in so many ways; you’ll not only feel better, you’ll look better, too.