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Secret Exercise Tricks for Slowing Down Aging

To live longer, you need power, muscle mass, and heart health. Here are the essential moves to get them.

It's a sad truth is that as we get older, it becomes harder to maintain so much of what we took for granted in our youth. The ability to eat and drink whatever we want, to bounce back quickly from a poor night of sleep, and to maintain our muscle mass with far less effort are just a few of the factors that, if you don't change in your 30s, 40s, and beyond, will catch up to you.

Although we can't turn back the clock, we can definitely slow down the aging process by rethinking our lifestyles, and the surest ways to do so are to adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, to get enough water and sleep daily, and to exercise regularly.

Now, exercise is more important than ever as you approach your mid-30s. If you lead a sedentary life, you lose muscle mass, strength, stability, mobility, and power. According to recent research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, you'll put yourself on the path to depression. But you'll also start shaving years off your life. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that for every single hour of TV an adult over the age of 25 watches, their lifespan may shrink by up to 22 minutes.

Any exercise can help you counter the bad effects of a sedentary life. But the right exercises are ones that hit your major muscles groups, help you maintain and build muscle mass, and really target your heart rate. After all, heart disease remains the biggest killer on the planet earth, and it should require little to no explanation why brisk walking—which ups your heart rate—can add upwards of 20 years to your life, according to one of the world's leading scientists.

So if you're looking to work your muscles and your heart, keep your metabolism firing, and protect your body against disease, work these exercises into your routine to slow down the effects of father time. Aim for 3-4 sets of each, and always give yourself ample time for recovery. And for more great workouts you should try now, don't miss The Secret Exercise Trick for Flatter Abs After 40.

Sprints (x10 for 30 yards each)

1 sprint

Sprinting is important because it helps improve mitochondrial health and cardiovascular health. It also helps with liver function and—if you're a man—prostate health. What's more, it burns fat and builds muscle in the legs and core.

Now, sprints are something you don't just jump into right away, especially if you haven't been running. Start with a fast run, focusing on driving with your elbows with the arm swing and running on the balls of your feet. Once you get more comfortable with a fast run, pick up the pace and build yourself up to 80% max pace. And for more great workout advice, see why Science Says This Is the Single Best Abs Exercise You Can Do.

Box Jumps (x5 reps)

2 box jumps
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

You also want to incorporate some power training into your program. We lose power and speed as we age, and it's important to maintain that. You don't need to go full Olympic weightlifter or CrossFitter here. Simply add some plyometric drills into your routine. The simplest one is the box jump.

If you haven't done a jump before, make sure you master the squat form first and start with a low box. Begin by facing a box or bench just one arm's length away. Keeping your core tight, swing your arms back and dip into a squat, then immediately spring up and jump onto the box, landing softly. Stick the landing with your knees tracking straight and then step back down before performing another rep.

Front Squat (x6-8 reps)

3 front squats

The front squat is a great exercise because it strengthens your legs, core, and upper back. It's an awesome compound lift that carries over into other aspects of your life and makes day-to-day activities easier.

To perform the front squat, get right under the bar so it is placed directly on your front shoulders. Put your fingertips on the bar outside your shoulders and bring the elbows forward so it is pointed in front of you. Lift the bar out of the rack, take a step back and sit back onto your heels, squatting down to where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive yourself back up through the heels and hips, flexing your quads and glutes to finish.

Chinups (x5-8 reps)

4 chinups
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

As we continue to age, we want to be able to control and move our bodies freely through different motions. Besides being able to do pushups, you also want to be able to perform chin-ups. It helps strengthen your back, lats, core, and arms, muscles we lose strength in as we get older.

To perform the chin-up, start by grabbing the bar with your palms facing away from you just outside shoulder width. Get into a full hang and pull your shoulder blades down. After that, pull your torso to the bar where your chin clears it, squeezing your lats and upper back. Make sure to lean back slightly, reaching with your sternum rather than your chin as you're coming up.

Lower yourself back into a full hang before performing another rep.

Remember: Building and maintaining muscle and power are the keys to slowing down aging. Incorporate these movements and you'll be looking and feeling good into your late 30s and beyond. And for more life-changing exercise advice, see here for the Secret Exercise Tricks for Keeping Your Weight Down for Good.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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