According to the American College of Sports Medicine, starting at around age 40, our muscle performance deteriorates at a rate of about 5 percent per decade, with the process speeding up after age 65 to 70. But research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that you could potentially slow (or reduce) that muscle loss by following a consistent cardio and strength program, even if you don’t start until later in life.
Being smart about your bio-mechanics will pay off over time. “If you have knock-knees when you run, or your back is mal-aligned on the bike, or you regularly perform exercises improperly at the gym, the continued aggravation you cause your body will create pain, arthritis, and ultimately age your joints more quickly,” says Storer. “Receive proper training, and follow proper technique, and you’ll be in it for the long haul.”
While the study findings mentioned above pertain more to hormonal differences in breast tissue, the undeniable sagging that occurs to breasts over time is due in large part to the deterioration of the Cooper’s Ligament, which goes across the breast. “If a woman who does high-impact activities tries to reduce movement with solid support, the speed at which the ligament breaks down would be slower,” says Storer.
Every cell, or chromosome, in your body is capped with a telomere, or a stretch of DNA that makes it possible for cells to divide. Each time a cell divides, telomeres get shorter, and over time, when they get too short, they die. Therefore, researchers often use the length of telomeres to assess biological aging. One German study compared the length of middle-aged long-distance runners’ telomeres with those of sedentary people the same age, and the results revealed that the runners’ telomere loss was reduced by about 75 percent, meaning that their actual cells were significantly younger than their inactive peers. Long live marathoners—quite literally.