Turn back the CLOCK with exercise

Five exercises to anti-age you by CANDICE Tehini

Keeping in shape is the No 1 measure we can take to prevent aging. These next few exercises will help to keep you fit and strong in your everyday life.

Personal trainer and owner of Athletic Mind, David Ayres, says: “The clean-and-jerk and the pull-up are my two exercises of choice.” When you break it down, the clean-and-jerk involves pulling the bar off the ground and catching it in a front squat. You then return to a standing position and launch the bar overhead to fully lock out your arms.

“Pulling the bar has all the benefits of deadlifting; the many positional drills really give you a great workout for your back. In my opinion, anyone who suffers from back pain should train this lift,” says Ayres.

The front squat not only works your legs, but also your midline stability. “When the bar is racked on the collarbones, the amount of force needed to maintain good squat position and form fires up more abdominal work than sit-ups,” explains Ayres.

Finally, pressing the bar overhead has true strength potential, and activates your arms, shoulders and midline.

When it comes to pull-ups, Ayres believes that training on fancy machines is pointless if you cannot manipulate your own body weight effectively. “The pull-up is one of the most functional movements we have in life,” says Ayres. Ideally, you should be able to pull your own weight up for at least 10 reps.

If you are a beginner, he recommends using an elastic assistance to help you achieve your goal. The pull-up movement activates your arms, shoulders, back and chest.

Wellness expert Lisa Raleigh recommends lunging. “It works the glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, abs and back,” she says.

To perform the perfect lunge, she suggests you lunge forward with the first leg, landing on your heel first. Then lower your body by flexing the knee and hip of the front leg until the knee of back leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to the original standing position by forcibly extending the hip and knee of the forward leg.

Lunges help to stabilise your core and strengthen your legs – which is the largest muscle group in your body, meaning it is also the best to train for fat-burning and weight-loss.

“Combine walking lunges with a deep push-up for a quick and easy total-body workout,” says Raleigh. The deep push-up will work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.

To execute this movement, kneel on a mat with your hands in front of you, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Shifting your weight onto your arms, move your knees back to form a straight line from shoulders to knees, and cross your ankles.

With tight abs and your spine straight, bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the ground. Let it touch the ground briefly, then extend your arms all the way up into your starting position, without locking your elbows.

Yoga practitioner and owner of i.Yoga, Stamena Dimitrova, says her best anti-aging poses are the shoulder stand and a back bend like the bow. “The shoulder stand is a powerful all-round pose. Its main benefits are strengthening and balancing the functions of the thyroid, which oversees the functioning of the other glands, and it assists in controlling heart rate. A shoulder stand also aids in bringing fresh blood to the brain, the biggest consumer of oxygen in our system. This fresh, new blood rushes to the face, bringing with it nutrients and oxygen for a more refreshed complexion as well,” says Dimitrova.

A shoulder stand also gently stretches the spine for a more flexible and less injury-prone back. And it helps with lymph drainage, which eliminates toxins from the body – the cleaner the body, the less production of free-radicals, which lead to premature aging on a cellular level.

“The bow is also vital for keeping your spine flexible. This flexibility allows proper functioning of all major systems: central nervous, cardio, digestive and respiratory,” says Dimitrova.

The bow involves a complete back bend of the whole spine – from the neck down to the lumber region. “The aging process begins to show mostly when we neglect our spine and hips, allowing them to become rigid and fused,” says Dimitrova. The bow pose helps to hyper-contract the back and spine, opens the heart region, lungs and abdomen, and enhances the elasticity of the spine. It also massages and invigorates the internal organs, especially the digestive system.

A healthy digestive system is crucial for that youthful feel and look. Dimitrova points out that 90% of the production of serotonin in the body and 70% of the immune system happen in the digestive tract.

Yoga poses should be practised under supervision of a qualified yoga practitioner. Regular practice of the pose brings energy, vigour and youthful vitality.


A positive attitude = happiness & a better life

This morning I listened to a talk by the CEO of FNB Michael Jordaan, hosted by FNB Private Clients, on lessons he learned from his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. Now you may wonder what on earth the WEF has to do with our anti-aging health magazine.

"Laugh out loud as much as possible" - Alan Chowles
Well the one piece of information that really pricked my ears was when he spoke about how a session on the Art & Science of Happiness,  which featured a Tibetan monk who was trained as a molecular biologist and now serves as an interpreter for the Dalai Lama, was oversubscribed.  I was trying to imagine all these very important people who drive the world’s socio-economic and political agenda, learning about happiness. Jordaan explained there’s a direct correlation between productivity at work and happiness. Happier employees work better and are far more effective. They are also more inclusive of others and therefore are more likely to get promoted. Happiness also comes from compassion and kindness to others. So it figures, if you are more giving and generous you’ll be happier and in turn you are more likely to do better. 
The Dalai Lama shares many of these principles in his teachings, but it’s really interesting that the business world is starting to appreciate the merits of compassion and happiness & that more professionals are incorporating the notion of happiness into the workplace.  A TEDx lecture & recent writings in the Harvard Business Review by Harvard magna cum laude graduate Shawn Achor in particular which I recently blogged about, also follows this line of thinking. The links to follow are http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html
As I contemplated the growing discussion on the topic as well as the link between having a positive attitude, being happy and having good health and longevity, a letter arrived in my mailbox from one of our readers Alan Chowles, which I would like to share:
Dear Editor,
    I was very impressed with the article, “Anti-age Your Behaviourin edition X 2011/2012 of your magazine, which was based on the findings of Professor Ellen Langer. I have always tried to live according to the principles espoused in this article, and have experienced the benefits derived from this. I believe that all of life is governed by one word, namely “attitude”, and having now reached the age of 76 can verify the benefits of a positive outlook.

Looking at the principles in the article as they appear I do agree that when there is something wrong with your body, one should take note of it and visit someone trained in the specific discipline indicated rather than suffering needlessly or trying home remedies. I have always been ready to say, “Yes”, to a new challenge. In fact in the past year I have enrolled in a course of creative writing as a means of stimulating myself. My wife and I are always looking for the humorous incidents that take place around us every day, and love to laugh out loud whenever possible. The fourth concept is outside the realms of practicality, but we did accept the challenge of moving to the coast and handling all the resulting changes. We avoid the temptation to remember “the good old days”.

We are living now and believe that the future will look after itself. On a daily basis we thank God for our many blessings, rather than focusing on what is (or was) wrong. I have lost the former spring in my step since my back has reacted to old injuries, but in my younger days was always renowned for the speed at which I walked. We are both avid readers, love crossword puzzle and make a determined effort to focus on what is going on around us. Finally we both have inquiring minds. The net result of the way we live is that both my wife and I are generally perceived to be much younger than we actually are. In this way we bear testimony to the value of the article in your magazine and highly recommend adapting to the lifestyle proposed by Professor Langer.

Alan Chowles – Brackenfell
So there you have it. Be happy!

Gisèle WERTHEIM AYMéS is  Publishing Editor of Longevity



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