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I’m 45, going on 46. I don’t believe in age. I don’t believe in aging. Whatever. I’ve got your aging right here! — Tony Horton, P90X

Why on earth do we talk so much about exercise here at Age Against the Machine? Well, it’s simple. Exercise is the single most positive thing you can do to keep your body working right.

Americans want simple fixes. We want a magic pill to fix our pain, high blood pressure, or diabetes. We want a magic pill to make us skinny and attractive. We want a magic pill to help us eat more food without busting out of our pants. We want a magic pill to improve our moods and help us sleep better. We want a magic pill to give us more energy and help us in bed. Call Merlin, that’s a lot of magic pills!

In fact, exercise will do a lot of those things. Everyone knows that it builds attractive muscles. Everyone knows exercise will help you lose weight. Losing weight will in turn help most chronic conditions including joint pain, high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions. Research suggests that losing weight can even help you remain mentally sharp well into your senior years!  Even if exercise didn’t help us lose weight by burning excess calories, the muscle we build by working out increases the metabolism — our bodies burn more calories even when we aren’t working out.

Exercise itself will also improve your mood, even if you have depression or anxiety (with certain genetic limitations). Perhaps this is because exercise helps curb chronic pain — over and above the effects of weight loss alone (mentioned above). That’s a benefit regular exercisers will experience for years to come. The improved mood we get from exercising might also partly be the fact that it is associated with better sleep. Oh, and it also might be that we have more energy for daily activities, including sex. That’s a lot of reasons to be happier!

Anti-aging isn’t only about living longer. It’s about quality of life: feeling better; being physically and mentally able to do things we enjoy as we age; living without chronic pain. Exercise is the magic pill that cures many ills, and it’s the foundation of anti-aging.

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