Want another reason to exercise regularly? Exercise increases blood growth hormone levels. Human growth hormones are produced by the pituitary gland to fuel childhood growth and maintain tissue and organs throughout life. Beginning in middle age, however, the pituitary gland slowly reduces the amount of growth hormone it produces. Fortunately, human growth hormones can be restored to a more youthful level through regular exercise. The longer you keep your body producing human growth hormones, the longer you can preserve your youthful strength and vitality. According to “Exercise Physiology” by Scott Powers and Edward Howley, the rise in blood growth hormone levels corresponds to the intensity of exercise. When you exercise at maximal work capacity, your growth hormone can reach up to 25 times the level at rest. Experienced exercisers seem to have a higher response than untrained individuals, but beginners can improve their levels right from the start, and eventually build up to more intense workouts. Adding a few HIIT (high intensity interval training) training sessions to your weekly routine will help stimulate growth hormones as well as increase your body’s efficiency at producing and using energy.
Your body also releases growth hormone during sleep. According to a study published in the "Journal of Clinical Investigation," growth hormone levels peak within the first few hours of sleep. The peak is similar to intense exercise, so workout like a lion and sleep like a lamb. You’ll enjoy a much better quality of life.
We live in a culture that worships youth and beauty. This obsession affects both sexes, but women are particularly targeted by the fashion, cosmetic and diet industry with images of presumed “beauty” that are both unrealistic and unattainable. We are told in a host of ways both overt and obscure, that to grow older is to become less attractive and less worthy. The perception is that aging brings with it a valley of decline. This is a problem, because as living, breathing organisms, we are all at this very moment, aging!
Before we can find passion about fitness, we need to accept the time bound world we inhabit. Nothing ever remains static. Each phase of life brings with it its own set of characteristics that await our label….do we call it good or bad, attractive or unattractive, gain or loss? Since growth is inherent to all natural processes, and beauty is inherent in growth, I choose to call it beautiful. There! Now you have it. I have chosen to perceive the beauty that exists in all the phases of life rather than the things that will never be the same as they were when I was younger. This is the very essence of calling the glass half full, of seeing what I have accomplished rather than the distance I still have to travel, and of being grateful for what I have. It is this attitude that enables me to see each workout as a new beginning, a fresh start and a new canvas. And it is this mindset that has kept the engines of inspiration fueled.
Truth be told, growing older is the best thing I’ve ever done. It is becoming a crescendo of creativity, where doors that I previously didn’t know existed are opening, and I am finding the courage to walk through them. However, I wouldn’t have been able to experience these things had it not been for my long-standing dedication to working out regularly. Going through life in a well toned and functional body eliminates the road blocks that can come with health issues.
There is much more to be discussed about finding your passion for exercise. Setting aside the obstacles such as age is the first step. Please stay tuned.
Age isn’t just a number….it’s a badge of achievement!
Our thoughts and beliefs about aging influence our behavior. Every cell in our body receives those thoughts and behaves in accordance with those beliefs. I am a 62 year old personal trainer, group fitness instructor, natural bikini competitor, fitness calendar model and grandmother. I will be posting each week about my experiences. I hope you will join me on my life long fitness journey as I navigate through the hidden landmines our environment presents us with each day. I will also share with you the myriad of joys that are attainable by avoiding these landmines. Come with me as I exercise with the joy and passion that is inherent to body movement, and see that aging and growing are one in the same.