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The 5 Best Stay-Young Workouts (Part 1) : Power Plate & Intensive training

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We reveal the workouts that keep you looking and feeling younger, from head to toe.

The health benefits of exercise are almost endless. Working out can help you lose or maintain weight, boost your immunity, protect you from chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease, and make you happier. But did you know that it can also make you younger? We’re not just talking feeling younger but actually slowing the ageing process, right down to your cells.

Description: the workouts that keep you looking and feeling younger

A study of 1,200 pairs of twins by researchers at King’s College London found those who were physically active during their leisure time appeared biologically younger than their less-active counterparts. The researchers found key elements of DNA, called telomeres, shortened more quickly in inactive people, and this might signify faster cellular ageing. Those who exercised vigorously for at least three hours a week had longer telomeres and were biologically around nine years younger than their sedentary peers.

More recently, a study by scientists at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that premature ageing in nearly every organ in the body was completely prevented in mice that ran on a treadmill three times a week for five months, the equivalent of a human running a 10K race in about 50 minutes. The study focused on the mice’s mitochondria – the tiny powerhouses that fuel every cell in the body and are crucial to the natural ageing process. Running enabled the mice’s mitochondria to keep functioning healthily long after the inactive mice’s mitochondria had cause the furry creatures to go grey, bald and wizened.

As the lead author of the study, Adeel Safdar, says, “exercise truly is the fountain of youth.” But some workouts are more effective than others. Here are the top five to try.

1.    Power Plate

Description: Power Plate

Best for: younger skin

If wobbly bits on the back of your arms or above your knees are giving your age away, don’t despair. Instead, try a Power Plate massage. It sounds too good to be true, but the vibrations of the Plate at certain frequencies (30Hz and 50Hz) have been shown in studies at Loma Linda University in the US to increase blood flow to the skin and enhance circulation for at least 10 minutes after you switch off the machine. With more blood reaching the skin and tissues, your skin condition and tone will improve. And as firmer skin tone equals a reduced appearance of cellulite, your body will look younger and trimmer.

Get the best results:

You don’t have to wait until the end of your workout to treat yourself to a Power Plate massage, you can use it as part of your warm-up. And, best of all, it doesn’t take long. Research shows you’ll get the blood flow-boosting benefits after just three minutes of massage at 30Hz. But if you increase the time to five minutes and the intensity to 50Hz, you’ll boost your circulation quicker and keep it higher for 10 minutes after your treatment.

Also try:

Any form of exercise that gets your heart pumping and your body moving will also boost your circulation. Power walking and cycling are free, and easy to fit into your daily routine. But if you prefer to work out indoors, try an aerobics class, a session on the cross-trainer, or even a swim.

2.    Intensive training

Description: Intensive training

Best for: younger body

“Up to the age of 25 you naturally release the anti-ageing human growth hormone (hGH). But after this the level drops, and from the age of 30, production can stop completely,” says Zana Morris, owner of Educogym (educogym.com). But all is not lost. “Intensive training has been shown to cause the body to continue to release hGH,” says Morris. But there’s another blow for those of us who have bid our twenties farewell: “From the age of 30, we lose half a pound of muscle each year, she says. But, “intensive training, such as the educogym 20:12 programme, can result in an average 3lb of muscle gain.” Hurrah!

Get the best results:

The educogym 20:12 programme involves completing 20 minutes of intense daily exercise for 12 days. Your body is encouraged to release hGH and restore lost muscle by an unforgiving circuit that works the three major muscle groups. Add countless sit-ups, a high-protein, low-GI diet and numerous nutritional supplements and you’ll drop weight, fat and gain a more youthful appearance in two weeks.

Also try:

A Brunel University study found that 10 minutes’ exercise at an intensity where lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stimulated the highest hGH release. This means you need to feel the burn for more than 10 minutes to get the stay-young benefits of your workout. But these minutes can be cumulative, so go for intense interval training with periods of active recovery. Make up your own programme, or check out a Puma FAAS class at Virgin Active health clubs (virginactive.co.uk)

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