What's your fitness age? Our experts reveal how getting fit can subtract years from your body's age...
Is your fitness age an accurate reflection of your actual age? New research has revealed that the most reliable measure of your body’s age is not how old you are, but your fitness level. WorldFitnessLevel.org backs this theory. Explaining that ‘your body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness,’ – you can discover your fitness age with their online fitness age calculator. What’s more, by improving your fitness, you can actually reduce your fitness age and improve your chances of living a longer, healthy life.
Studies on the benefits of exercise show that activity reduces inflammation – which is linked to heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, dementia and ageing. The good news? It’s never too late to start and you just have to raise your heart rate, so things such as gardening, housework and brisk walking all count.
‘As well as upping activity levels, avoid too much sitting, says Stuart Biddle, Professor of physical activity and health at Loughborough University. ‘We pooled the results of ten studies and found that lying down, watching TV, sitting at the computer and so on, increased the metabolic syndrome (a cluster of high blood press, high blood sugar and high cholesterol) by 73 per cent.’ he says. Here’s how to get fit and build activity into your life.
Choose something you enjoy Dance classes, swimming or fencing are good if you find the gym boring.
Plan ahead Each month or week, write down what activities you’ll do and when.
Buddy up Getting active with a friend really helps to motivate you
Go for the goal Set yourself targets that are challenging but achievable
Use technology Invest in a pedometer or get an online personal training app.
With growing evidence that activity is the secret to a long and healthy life, it’s all about finding the kind of exercise that works for you and finding an enjoyable way to keep fit. Here, our experts explain the easiest ways to get and stay fit in whatever time you have spare…
How often? Three times a week
Extra health benefits? A sharper brain plus cardiovascular benefits. A study from the Group Health Research Institute found that people who exercise moderately three times a week for 15 minutes were 38% less likely to develop dementia.
How often? Once a week
Extra health benefits? Better sex! In fact, any type of exercise will improve your sex life as it increases blood flow and energy levels, as well as boosting body confidence and self-esteem. However, a study from the University of Texas found that women who 20 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike incrwased blood flow to their pelvic area by 50 per cent, with reportedly better sex and stronger orgasms as a result.
How often? Five times a week
Extra health benefits? As well as improving your circulation and metabolism, moderate cardio could reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 27%. Start with a quick gentle jog, a bike ride or a few laps of your local pool.
How often? Five days a week
Extra health benefits? Releases upper
body tension if you spend hours hunched over a laptop or computer.
According to a stufy, office workers reported 37 per cent less pain in
their upper body after just two minutes of stretching with a resistance
How often? Once a day.
Extra health benefits? Obviously, one to work up to if you've never tried jogging, but the appeal is that you don't need to have the stamina to run for half an hour. Ten minutes of high-intensity running is enought to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, reduce stress levels, blitz fat cells and preserve lean muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism healthy and your body toned.
How often? Once a week
Extra health benefits? Dancing works all your tiny muscles and pulls them in, which creates a longer looking, lean, toned, shape - rather than running which predominately works the big leg muscles. So it leaves you toned all over, offers a great cardio workout and can also correct bad posture.
If you want to tone your legs, foxtrot, waltz, tango and rumba really target your legs and bottom as they involve a lot of lunging, leaving legs slimmer and more toned.
Faster dance classes such as Charleston , quickstep and jib are best for heart and fat burning.
For a flat stomach try Zumba and Salsa classes. They work your core muscles, which hold in your mid section.
If you want to tone your arms, pretty much all types of dance does the trick but the ultimate arm-toning dance is the paso doble, a traditional Spanish march-like dance.