Looking For the Fountain of Youth?

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men4Exercise may not be the end-all when it comes to the fountain of youth but you can get a healthy hit of vitality from a long drink of it.

In 1966, a unique and very revealing study was done at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School. Five completely healthy men volunteered to participate in a research study that sounded to them like the easiest opportunity of their lives. All they had to do was spend three weeks of their upcoming summer vacation resting in bed. Seemed easy and harmless enough right? Wrong, the results were devastating.

In just three short weeks, these 20 year olds developed many physiologic characteristics of men twice their age. Testing before and after exercise the researchers found shocking changes that included faster resting heart rates, higher systolic blood pressures, and a drop in the heart’s maximum pumping capacity, a rise in body fat and a fall in overall muscle strength.

Not a pretty picture and a stiff price to pay for 3 weeks of being sedentary. But, very revealing wouldn’t you say?

The research done in Texas is a stark demonstration of how harmful the consequences of extended bed rest can be and contributed a great deal to our understanding of exercise and aging. Studies like these are what has encouraged the early return to physical activity after any illness or surgery has sidelined us.

I guess Helen Hayes had it right when she proclaimed that “resting is rusting.”

If staying youthful and vital long into our senior years is important, then regular exercise must be addressed now. It is a surefire way to help people age more slowly while living healthier and more vigorous lives. A Harvard Alumni Study suggests that men who exercise regularly gain about two hours of life expectancy for each hour of exercise. For most men that adds up to about 2 extra years over the course of their lifetime.

Another Harvard study revealed that men can benefit from exercise at any age…no matter when they start. The study revealed that previously sedentary men who began exercising after the age of 45 enjoyed a 24% lower death rate than those classmates that were inactive. On average, research showed that those who were sedentary gained about 1.6 years of life expectancy by becoming active later on in life. “It’s never too late” works here.

A good tip to keep in mind as you adopt a new active lifestyle is to explore a variety of ways to exercise and keep in shape. This will help keep you from getting bored or the exercises becoming stale.

Strength training exercises, a variety of stretches and exercises that work on balance should all be included.

Bottom line is this: physical activity helps reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses that are the cause of much distress and disability as men age. These illnesses include hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s.

If that isn’t enough to get your attention then knowing that exercise provides a 30% reduction in a man’s risk of impotence should be.

It’s never too late to reverse the clock and “Strong Men Stay Young” can help you do just that.

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