Most of us worry about ageing by focusing on how our face will look. But as we age, so does your body – your muscles shorten, your bones weaken and you repair from injury more slowly. It is important to not only look after your skin, but your body as well. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier and more youthful you will look on the outside.
Jason T Smith, renowned physiotherapist, founder of the Back In Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion shares his five secrets to help you age gracefully.
1. Walk everyday
Walking every day is one of the easiest ways to maintain fitness and keep you looking and feeling younger. The motion your body goes through when walking is similar to the motion you go through as when you run; your arms and legs move simultaneously together. The benefit of walking over running is that you’re not putting as much stress on your joints and therefore minimising the risk of damage.
You can walk for much longer periods of time than you can run (unless you are super fit!), and it is easy to incorporate into your everyday activities as incidental exercise. Walk up the stairs, walk to the train station or even walk to work if you live close enough.
2. Focus on your abs
As we age, that fit toned tummy seems to almost disappear. Sagging stomach muscles are one of the first signs of ageing. A strong core helps your posture and balance, which can make you look and feel younger. One of the main reasons for back pain is bad posture. If you strengthen your stomach muscles, your posture will improve and back pain can be better managed. Your abs are also important for your balance as they are the centre of your core. I would recommend exercising your core 2-3 times per week. Sit on a physio ball and see how well you can balance by drawing your stomach in and moving your pelvis side to side.
3. Eat healthily
A diet that lacks in nutrition will age you both internally and externally, with obesity proven to accelerate the process of ageing. Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar is the best anti-ageing medicine! Eat plenty of whole foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Avoid highly processed foods as these are high in fats, sugars, salts and plenty of other nasties that may accelerate the ageing process. Drinking 1-2 litres of water a day is beneficial to help eliminate the toxins in your body.
Squatting isn’t just a great thigh and buttock toner; it’s one of the most natural human movements – think of how many times a day you stand up from a seated position. If done properly, squats help stimulate muscle growth and develop muscle mass throughout your whole body. This movement also spreads nutrition from foods your body has processed into your organs and glands. Squats help to keep your body healthy on the inside, whilst keeping your youthful look on the outside. Start with 10 squats a day, and increase over time, for health and body benefits.
5. Moving regularly
Consistency is key! Start small and increase your exercise weekly as your fitness levels improve. However many times you exercise per week, keep it consistent. You won’t see results if your exercise regime is irregular.
Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Jason’s new book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion practices around Australia, major book retailers and online bookstores, RRP $34.95.