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Turn back the clock

The best reason yet to exercise: it’s the secret to staying young

Regular exercise and healthy living can actually turn back the clock and reverse the ageing process.

As we age, we all want to look and feel younger, which makes research findings coming out of the United States very interesting indeed.

It seems the secret to staying young could simply be exercising on a regular basis and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. And we’re not just talking about looking younger. Your body, at a fundamental cellular level, will actually be younger.

The power of healthy living

We need to start with a bit of science. Specifically, we need to tell you about telomeres: caps at the ends of our chromosomes which prevent them from fraying as our cells replicate. As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter; when they fall below a certain length, the cell can no longer divide and it dies. It’s this cell loss that causes ageing in the body.

However, the ageing of our cells doesn’t always match our chronological ageing, and that’s because – in addition to normal ageing – telomeres can be worn down through an unhealthy lifestyle. Stress, for example, is high on the list of factors that can prematurely shorten telomere length.

Conversely, it’s also been found that telomerase – an enzyme stimulated by healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise – can protect telomeres from shortening. It may even lengthen them, effectively reversing the ageing process.

Indeed, researchers from Brigham Young University found that people who regularly took part in intense exercise had longer telomeres, reducing ageing at the cellular level by up to nine years.

So what can you do?

It’s been suggested that the following may contribute to improved telomere health:

Increasing exercise: Incorporating four to five training sessions each week, ideally of a fairly high intensity (e.g. jogging for 30–40 minutes)

Improving nutrition: Implementing a low.-fat diet, with less red and processed meat, and talking with a nutritionist about dietary supplements.

Improving metabolism: Starting a weight-loss programme.

Enhancing wellbeing: Reducing psychological stress and depression, and increasing feelings of personal control and purpose in life.

Decreasing stress: Adding yoga and meditation to lifestyle programmes.

The club that keeps you young

It’s enough to make Aspria membership a no-brainer, isn’t it? A gym workout is no longer just a stress-busting, calorie-burning session, while a visit to the spa is no longer just about creating relaxing ‘me time’ moments. They’re also important aspects in slowing the ageing process – and potentially even in reversing the negative effects of premature ageing.

And if you’re nervous about going to the gym, never fear: at Aspria Brussels Royal La Rasante, our expert teams have created a number of specially designed ‘Gold’ classes for older members, including Zumba Gold, Stand-Up Gold, Agility Gold, FUNctional Gold, Stretching Gold and Gym Tonic Gold.

Add these to all the other low-impact classes on the timetable, where you’ll be guided through the workout at a level to suit you – from Aquafit to Qi Gong – and it’s clear Aspria is the perfect place to protect your health as you age… and indeed to slow the ageing process.

Find out more about Aspria membership here.

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