I always feel so much better when I exercise. I have more energy, my mood improves, and I feel younger, too. And of course, I know I’m increasing my bone density at the same time.
But now there’s fascinating research that sheds light on just why exercise makes us feel so much better, and how important it is not only for bone density, but for quality and length of life.
The research points to three key benefits of exercise in addition to bone rejuvenation, and I’ve shared them below.
1. Study: More Muscle Mass Can Prolong Your Life
One of the effects of exercise is increased muscle mass. Yet amazingly, a new study shows a connection between muscles and longevity.
Researchers at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) scrutinized data gathered between 1988 and 1994, particularly a survey conducted on 3,659 men age 55 and older and women 65 and older. A follow-up survey in 2004 showed which of the participants died from natural causes, and what researchers found was surprising.
Those individuals with greater muscle mass had a much lower rate of all-cause mortality, indicating that an increase in muscles lowers the risk of death.1
Bear in mind that these were not muscle-bound individuals; the increase in muscle mass was observed using electric current, because it was not obvious from the individuals’ appearance. So when you exercise regularly, you can rest assured that you’re building muscle mass, even if you don’t look more muscular.
2. Exercise Gives Your Brain And Your Mood A Boost
I don’t know about you, but when my mind is sharp I feel exponentially younger. The same can be said for feeling happy – it helps recapture that “carefree” feeling from youth. And now it’s scientifically proven that exercise helps these cognitive issues.
- Depression: While it’s been known for some time that exercise helps depression, collaborative research from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas has revealed some specific information about the quantity and type of exercise that is most effective at relieving depression.
Adults who engaged in moderately intense aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week experienced an almost 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. There were four other groups of study participants whose exercise levels ranged from lower-intensity aerobics 5 or 3 times a week, to those who simply did 15 to 20 minutes of stretching 3 days a week. The reduction in depression was correlative with the amount of exercise, with the stretching group experiencing a 27% reduction in symptoms.2
Depression has been linked to low bone density, so alleviating it is crucial for regaining youthful bones.
- Stress Reduction: Exercising regularly also reduces levels of bone-depleting cortisol, the human stress hormone. Reducing stress not only makes for healthier, younger bones, but it also relieves the feelings of overwhelm associated with chronic stress.
- Improves Memory: Here’s where I feel the most youthful – when my memory is sharp!
As we age, an area of the brain called the hippocampus begins to shrink, setting the stage for impaired memory. But here’s wonderful news: researchers found that regular exercise actually increased the size of the hippocampus in 120 older adult participants, and corresponding improvements in memory were observed.3
You’ll notice a recurring theme here – regularity and consistency. Results come with regular exercise practiced on a consistent basis.
I’ve found this concept to be applicable to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program and as well. Of course, no one is ever 100% consistent; life happens, and sometimes you’re not able to follow the Program perfectly all the time. But if you do the best you can and follow the Program most of the time (and get back on it again if you “fall off” temporarily), then you, too, can enjoy younger bones and a happier outlook.
3. Exercise Corrects Life-Shortening Dowager’s Hump (Kyphosis)
It came as a bit of a shock to me when I realized that kyphosis is not just unsightly and bad for your bones – it also decreases your quality and duration of life.
In a media statement from March 2014, the United Chiropractic Association (UCA) declared that poor posture is as significant a threat to your health as obesity, pointing out the link between kyphosis and cardiovascular disease. In fact, according to the UCA, elderly people with kyphosis actually have a 1.44 greater risk of mortality than those with correct posture.4
Researchers focused on kyphosis brought on by texting, but regardless of the cause, the bottom line is that being hunchbacked – and its precursor, Forward Head Posture – carry significant health risks.
UCA executive director Estelle Zauner-Maughan notes that
…when someone drops their head forward and rounds their shoulders, it becomes impossible for them to take a full breath in because of the restriction through the muscles and because the ribs can’t move properly, so the heart and lungs can’t function to their full effectiveness.”4
The good news is, kyphosis is correctable with exercise, so you don’t have to worry about it robbing you of youthful bones.
Science shows us once again that the benefits of exercise go well beyond building bone density. So when you engage in bone-building, consistent exercise, you’re helping your whole body.
I have always believed that true health involves the whole person. And the above research shows that exercise does just that, incorporating every body system to build and shape a younger you.
I had the whole person in mind when I created the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System as a companion to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Although the “densercises” are designed to improve bone density and posture, science proves that when you Densercise™, you’re doing more than just building bone. You’re reversing the aging process!
Till next time,
1 Preethi Srikanthan, Arun S. Karlamangla. “Muscle Mass Index as a Predictor of Longevity in Older-Adults.” The American Journal of Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.02.007
2 Dunn, Andrea L., et al. “Exercise treatment for depression.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine. January 2005. Vol 28, issue 1, pgs 1-8. Web. http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2804%2900241-7/fulltext
3 Erickson, Kirk I., et al. “Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. January 31, 2011, doi: 10.1073. Web. http://www.pnas.org/content/108/7/3017.abstract
4 United Chiropractic Association. “Warning that bad Posture caused by mobile device use could shorten your life.” March 2014. Web. PDF