Reasons Why The Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle Is The Fountain Of Youth

By Guillaume

You don’t stop training Jiu-Jitsu when you get old,
You get old when you stop training Jiu-Jitsu.

Do you grapple, want to feel forever young? Very simple. Train Jiu-Jitsu, live the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle and get regular physical exercise.
Training regularly and interacting with your younger team mates will make your body and mind feel young and fresh.
A few years ago, I was talking with BJJ and Judo black belt Stephen Kamphuis. He is over 50 years old and continues to train BJJ every single day. He said that training regularly was the reason that he felt so good at his age. At an age where the majority of people are in terrible shape, Stephen looks and acts like a 30 year old.

Muscle Regeneration
We lose muscle as we age, about 5% every 10 years after the age of 35. This loss in muscle mass translates to a decline in metabolism and also an increased risk of injury. Strength training will reverse this process not only by building muscle, but by creating a favorable hormone environment. Any type of exercise will also increase blood flow to the body and help reverse the muscle loss as well.

Better Skin
Good fitness involves eating right, exercising, and drinking plenty of water – all of which have various positive effects on your skin. Eating a nutritious diet high in vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to slow the appearance of wrinkles . Exercise improves circulation to your skin, giving it more elasticity. Drinking water flushes out toxins and improves your skin’s appearance by hydrating it.

Fat Ages You
My best friend, who is 38, recently became very fit through nutrition and exercise. I was meeting her in a crowded location and walked right past her no fewer than 3 times, because I thought she was a teenager standing there. I think even I look younger at 35 than I did 10 years ago when I was 30 pounds overweight, and that is often the first impression I have when seeing body transformations – they look 10 years younger! Keeping your body healthy and fit will give you the physical appearance of someone much younger.

Youth On a Cellular Level
Exercise has been shown through research to stop the shortening of telomeres, which are tiny protective strands of DNA that prevent chromosomes from unraveling in our immunity cells. Shortening of these telomeres is thought to be caused by stress, which then opens the door to disease. Exercise reduces stress levels, which in turn prevents the damage to these cell protectors, keeping them undamaged and “younger”.

Improved Cognitive Function
Aside from the improved oxygen circulation to the brain, research has actually found that exercise can reverse the aging of the section of the brain that controls memory. As we age, this part of the brain (the hippocampus) shrinks, which is why many elderly adults struggle with dementia and memory loss. A study of 120 older adults showed a 2% increase in size of the hippocampus with exercise . This increase in size was shown to positively affect memory in these adults. Many superfoods with anti-inflammatory properties, like spinach, blueberries, and omega 3 fats have also been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological degenerative disorders.

Keeping your body in shape, flexible, and energizing it with nutritious food enables you to keep up with physical activities that you might otherwise have to give up as you age. Play sports, go out dancing, chase your children and grandchildren well into your later years.

HGH – Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced by the pituitary gland. Its decline during middle age is one reason for our aging, specifically muscle and bone loss, and skin elasticity decline. We can increase the amount of HGH we produce naturally as we age just by getting adequate sleep, and through exercise. Specifically, resistance and high intensity interval training have been shown to increase the amount of HGH our bodies naturally produce.

Bone Health
As we age, particularly women over the age of 50, we are more likely to develop osteoporosis as our bones deteriorate. Strength training prevents and even reverses this deterioration by stimulating bone growth and improving bone density. Our diet also affects our bone health, as bones are made almost entirely of calcium and phosphorus.

A reduction in overall muscle mass, core strength, and bone density often lead to a slumped over posture that is observed in elderly men and women. This can cause balance issues and stiffness/pain. Strength training, specifically core exercises, will keep your posture in good form so you can stand straight and tall into your golden years.

Youthful Hair
Eating a sufficient amount of protein in your diet, one that is rich in Vitamin B, will slow the aging process of your hair, which can become thinner, finer, and have more breakage as we get older.

Sex Drive
As we age, we produce less and less testosterone, which is responsible for much of our libido. Exercise increases testosterone production, as does a nutritious diet – keeping our sex drives alive.

Lowered Risk of Disease
Both healthy diet and exercise lower your risk of diseases that are common with aging, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.


Health Benefits of Exercise
The research supporting the benefits of exercise is enormous and the following are just a sample of what is out there.

Cardiovascular Disease: Exercise improves heart function, blood flow to the whole body, nervous system control over the heart, and a technical measurement called endothelial function in patients with heart disease. It appears from a large number of studies that exercise can help prevent heart disease. Exercise even helps people who have had a heart attack, reducing symptoms, complications, trips back to the hospital, and longer life. Not only that, but their quality of their life is better, they have lower depression, and they return to work or active life quicker than people who don’t exercise.

High Blood Pressure: The good news is that high blood pressure appears to respond best to moderate exercise (as opposed to strenuous exercise). With as little as 30 minutes of continuous exercise a day, patients are able to reduce their high blood pressure. It is important to note that the kind of exercise is important: continuous. Continuous exercise is walking, running, biking and not tennis, golf or even soccer or basketball. The jury is still out if weight training or high-intensity exercise will help high blood pressure.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Moderate exercise has been shown to improve the symptoms (less pain) and the functional ability (they can do more) in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Diabetes: Exercise has been studied in diabetics for a long time and has been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce the need for medications. In a new study on the effects of exercise in diabetics, researchers were able to prove that long-term blood sugar control (by measuring hemoglobin A1c) is much better in diabetics that exercise than those that don’t, even when there they didn’t lose weight because of the exercising.

Weight Loss: As you can guess, exercise and weight loss has been extensively studied. A new study on overweight children showed that exercise helped them (more than adults) maintain their weight loss over a long period of time.This study is so important and demonstrates that exercise can become a habit if introduced early enough in someone’s life. While normal-weight people should exercise at least 30 minutes (moderate intensity) on most days; overweight people should exercise 60 to 80 minutes a day.

Cognitive function: There is pretty good evidence that exercise will help maintain brain function, including memory, cognitive function, and attention in older adults. Since Alzheimer’s (and dementia in general) are becoming such a health disaster, it is good to know that exercise can be preventive.

Depression and Anxiety: A prescription for exercise often works better in people with depression and anxiety than taking a drug. New research suggests that this effect may be due to the ability of exercise to help us deal with stress. Who couldn’t use a little stress and anxiety reduction?

What Else?

Exercise has been show to:

Improve self-esteem, especially in children.
Reduce the risk for colon cancer.
Improves our quality of life, especially in older people.
Reduce back pain.
Prevent osteoporosis.

Move Your Buns Around

Okay, I didn’t quite tell you the truth above, there are side-effects from exercise and you can hurt yourself; luckily, though, most of the damage you can do is only temporary (unlike some drug damage).

Here is what you need to know to get started on your own exercise program:

Always check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
You don’t have to kill yourself; moderate exercise is what has been shown to be the most effective for most conditions.
Start slow and build up to 30 minutes every (or most) days. You’ll want to do more if you are overweight.
Pick a continuous exercise: this means your heart rate is up for a sustained period. Choose exercise like running, walking, cycling, cross-country skiing and others.
Consider adding weight lifting into your program.
Most of all, you want to have fun and stick with it. Yes, it can be a drag putting on clothes and getting out the door in the rain and snow, but most people love their exercise once they get going. If you can’t exercise outside, I recommend that you “pay” for the television that you watch by putting an exercise bike or a treadmill in front of the TV.

Take advantage of the best drug ever and start your exercise program today!


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