23 October 2018
Aging is inevitable but we can slow it down by changing our lifestyle. Photo: Reuters
Aging is inevitable but we can slow it down by changing our lifestyle. Photo: Reuters

Slowing down aging through exercise

According to official data, the average life expectancy of women in Hong Kong in 2016 was 87.3 years and that of men was 81.2 years, putting the place at the top of life expectancy rankings in the world, beating Japan.

There are many reasons why Hongkongers are living longer. Growing old, meanwhile, brings its own challenges, and life is not too easy for the elderly population. 

Aging is inevitable but we can slow it down by changing our lifestyle.

There are four main aspects one has to deal with to slow down the aging process.

A healthy balanced diet is the most important among them. Next, there is the issue of getting enough rest as rest would allow our bodies to recover.

Third, emotion management, as emotions can affect the endocrine and digestive system. And, lastly, getting proper and sufficient exercise.

Now, I’ll focus on the last aspect: how to slow down aging through exercise.

Anti-aging exercise can be categorized into three types: stretching exercises, aerobic exercise and muscle training.

Stretching exercise is to relax muscles; aerobic exercise is to strengthen heart and lung muscles; and muscle training is to improve balance, muscle strength and endurance as well as hand-foot coordination.

Among these three types of exercise, muscles training is less known. However, it is an indispensable anti-aging exercise. We can train our muscles through different fitness equipment, such as fitness balls, dumbbells, yoga mats, etc.

Balance training is very practical as afterwards you will be steadier while walking, which helps prevent falling. Strengthening the muscles means maximizing your body, especially your lower body to support your weight.

To enhance muscle endurance, one should carry out same exercises repeatedly. Daily exercise will be easier with higher endurance. Lastly, hand-foot coordination can also train your brain and enhance your body flexibility.

Before and after muscles training you should do five to 10 minutes warm-up exercise, so that you can exercise safely and effectively. It is recommended to train three times a week, around 45 to 60 minutes each time.

Through regular training, body strength, endurance, coordination and balance will be greatly improved, which will help prevent and ease joints pain. It will help slow down aging by ensuring higher fitness level.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 26

Translation by John Chui with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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