Be honest: how often are you currently working out, especially during this long winter in the pandemic?
We probably all know by now that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and that we should break a sweat a few days a week. But now, science is showing just how critical staying in shape is if we want to ward off one of the biggest recurring health problems that many of us deal with as we get older: inflammation.
What is age-related inflammation?
Some people are more susceptible to issues with inflammation when they’re younger than others, but no matter our health, we all start to deal with inflammation later in life.
This is because our cell receptors deteriorate over the years, causing our bodies to put out an emergency immune response when there isn’t anything wrong. The older we get, the more frequently this happens, leading to chronic pain as the body essentially attacks itself over and over again. This causes ongoing inflammation problems and can lead to challenging chronic conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and sarcopenia.
How can exercise help inflammation?
Based on this prevalent problem, scientists wanted to see if regular exercise was important for fending off “inflammaging,” as they call it.
A new study was recently published in Science Advances specifically looked at how the body handles age-related inflammation and which cells, like muscle, immune, and fat cells, need to be altered at a molecular level to reduce that inflammation.
Interestingly, through lab-grown samples, researchers found that muscle cells are able to reduce age-related inflammation on their own. This means that any workout, as long as it actively targets your muscles, is an easy way to guard against future inflammation and also reduce existing inflammation.
How much do you need to exercise to see results?
A healthy diet full of foods that also cut down on inflammation can definitely help, but exercise is critical to keeping muscles from weakening and wasting away over the years.
Researchers are still looking into what the optimal type and frequency of exercise are for getting the best inflammation reduction results, but for now, just make sure you get moving!
Simply walking every day is a great way to start out without over-exerting yourself, and it can even help with managing your weight and lowering your blood pressure. Or, if you already go for walks, try adding a few short, intense bursts so that you get some interval training in your workouts.
Cutting down inflammation is great, but an added bonus is that any form of exercise is an excellent mood booster for this dreary time of year!