4 Anti-Aging Exercises

Take off years with these mind-body workouts

Photo by: Ron Chapple Stock/iStock

Adding some type of low-impact mind-body exercise—workouts like yoga and tai chi that have a meditative or mind-focusing component—to your weekly workout schedule can help you lower age-accelerating anxiety, stress, and high blood pressure while also raising your ability to battle damage from free radicals. Some crowd-pleasing favorites:

Ballet This graceful, smooth type of dance is a great way to stretch and strengthen underused muscles and improve flexibility and coordination. The mind-body aspect comes from the focus required for the (mostly) low-impact moves. An added benefit is improved posture; the classic positions help align your body to produce a graceful, taller stance. Calories burned per half-hour: 150 to 180

Pilates This workout combines strength, flexibility, balance, and control training with resistance exercises. It’s done individually, in groups, or on three pieces of specially designed Pilates equipment. Movements look like stretches and emphasize breathing along with muscle strengthening. A workout lasts 45 to 90 minutes, and although it’s not aerobic at lower levels, advanced students do get cardiovascular benefits. Pilates is often taught one-on-one, which can be expensive, but many clubs offer more reasonably priced and effective mat classes (the exercises are done without the large specialized equipment). Calories burned per half-hour: 180 to 220

Tai chi This ancient Chinese regimen, rooted in the martial arts, improves strength, flexibility, concentration, and balance by combining mental discipline with physical moves. When done correctly, tai chi can raise the heart rate to 60 percent of maximum, qualifying as moderate exercise. Thighs and hips do much of the work, as in high-impact aerobics—but without the jumping. And it just may keep you young: One study showed that tai chi practitioners slowed their loss of aerobic capacity, a measure of how the heart, lungs, and circulatory system are working. Calories burned per half-hour: 125 to 150

Yoga Rooted in ancient Indian philosophy, yoga improves flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. It consists of deep-breathing exercises and “postures” or “poses” that are held for several seconds to several minutes. Some forms of yoga also involve muscle toning and aerobic movement. The poses can be adapted to any fitness level – and as you increase the depth of your practice, the benefits increase. Some doctors advise learning yoga in a supervised class because certain positions can cause injury if done incorrectly. Calories burned per half-hour: 200