It is theorized that one major contributor to the aging process and overall cellular damage is through the presence of free radicals, called the Free Radical Theory. Free Radicals are unpaired electrons within a molecule or atom in your body created through a process called oxidation. These free radicals then create more free radicals when they interact with other cells. This causes cellular damage, and free radicals are created in just about every biological process in your body.
These free radicals are more prevalent during exercise because of the increased oxygen demand placed on the body, which increases the amount of cellular damage. All of this cellular damage is like waste in your body that accumulates over time, and accelerates the aging process. So, what can we do to slow this down?!
There are two main types of training, Aerobic and Anaerobic. Aerobic, simply means “with air” and Anaerobic means, “without air”. Increased Aerobic exercise will increase the amount of oxidation that occurs in the cells, which means greater presence of free radicals. Anaerobic training will not have the same significant affect, which is another reason to use resistance exercise over aerobic training to achieve your health and fitness goals.
But even Anaerobic Training will oxidize the molecules in our body and create free radicals, so it is VITAL that we rebuild our bodies tissues with the proper nutrients in order to limit the cellular damage caused by free radicals. This is accomplished through the intake of antioxidants. The reasoning behind this is in the name, Anti-Oxidants. Below is a list of the most common types of antioxidants and the best sources.
Vitamin E – nuts, seed, vegetable and fish oils, as well as whole grains
Vitamin C – citrus fruits, green peppers, kiwi, spinach, kale, broccoli, and berries
Beta-carotene – egg yolk, squash, yams, and tomatoes
There are more sources of antioxidants, and the best way to get them all is by eating a well balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables along with lean protein sources.