Everybody loves youth and tries to stay young. Thus, unlocking and reconfiguring the process of ageing is an industry with inexhaustible enthusiasm. Our vanity is making us go after complex potions, neolithic diets, aggressive surgery and oddball practices; all promising to arrest the march of middle age. But at the most, all it does is make little more than a microscopic makeover.
However, a fact remains, that Oriental Asian's age the best; the process seemingly suspended between the ages of 20's and 50's. There are many reasons to consider: genetics, diet and climate, but research is unveiling the type of sports we partake in when approaching middle age might have an impact.
Western sports are more vigorous. Typified by full contact, cardio heavy activities: soccer, rugby and tennis etc. These high impact sports create an early burn out. Around the age of 30, the body either sends out some clear messages that it's time to quit, or an injury provides an unceremonious curtain call. Replacing the competitive challenge of sport, we gravitate towards strenuous cardio workouts, a direct substitute for that habitual endorphin buzz. Running and Crossfit regimes are a natural progression from the field, but these high cardio regimes might not be the best type of exercises for retaining the glow of youth. Apart from the haemorrhoidal hotbed of circuit training or arthritis inducing mini marathon, the most worrying aspect of doing lengthy cardio sessions is the increased production of free radicals. Elevated aerobic metabolism from these extreme workouts create free radicals, which cause oxidation leading to damaged cells. This cell degeneration accelerates ageing, and is pretty much irreversible. It's no coincidence that those middle aged marathon runners look older than their years.
So how do Asians differ?
The prevalent sports in Southeast Asia are badminton and table tennis, both low impact sports in comparison to western equivalents. Badminton in particular combines cardio, coordination and anaerobic stretching elements. Whilst the machismo of western sports often dismisses Badminton as a garden activity for girls and sissies, it's in fact one of the most dynamic and highly participated sports. Played at the highest level it's the fasted racket sport and hugely physically demanding.
But, it can be tempered to something gentler, containing the perfect components for a middle aged workout: low impact, short bursts of cardio, dexterity and agility. The beauty of badminton is that its ferocity can be tapered through age, from the explosiveness of professional players to the pitter patter of church badminton. All these anti-ageing hallmarks make it a far more realistic remedy than coffee enemas, cabinets of creams and cardio hell – naturally stunting the onset of ageing in a fun and sustainable manner.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in My News are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Onmanorama, or any other entity of Malayala Manorama.