- Jillian Michaels says it’s not enough to eat well or exercise – you need to do both to stay young.
- Dr. Noelle Reid told Insider that while there’s truth in this, there are other factors at play.
- Michaels says that to maintain her fitness, she works out a maximum of four times a week for 30 minutes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
We can “slow aging” by eating healthy and working out, according to the personal trainer Jillian Michaels.
The “Biggest Loser” trainer, 47, told the Daily Star over the weekend that while following a nutritious diet and keeping active can bring about health benefits, nailing the two is the key to staying young.
Michaels used a car analogy: If you’re eating well but not working out, or vice versa, you’re in “neutral – not rapidly accelerating our chance of disease, but not aggressively slowing aging and working to prevent disease either.”
When you do both simultaneously, you’re in “drive,” or “actively getting/staying healthy,” she said.
“When you aren’t doing either of those things then you are absolutely putting yourself at a far greater risk for illness and dramatically reduced life span – not to mention an overall diminished quality of life,” Michaels said.
There’s more to preventing aging than diet and exercise
Research backs up Michaels’ emphasis on keeping active. Studies suggest you can protect your mind and body from the physical effects of aging by exercising regularly and in diverse ways.
“Aging is inevitable, but Jillian is right that there are ways to mitigate the effects of aging, and eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are certainly two things that help,” Dr. Noelle Reid, a family-medicine physician and specialist in aging, told Insider.
“These can provide a good foundation for aging, but other factors are at play as well, such as limiting stress, getting enough sleep, maintaining social connections, and taking care of your cells,” Reid said.
While eating healthy and keeping active can help maintain optimal health and improve longevity, they have their limits.
“What many people may not realize is that aging starts in your cells,” Reid said. “As they get older, your cells no longer function at their peak performance due to declines in mitochondrial health and other important processes. We refer to this as age-associated cellular decline, or AACD.
“While proper nutrition has some impact on this process, not all of what we consume penetrates at the cellular level to directly impact the function of our mitochondria.”
Supplementing your diet can help slow the aging process
According to Reid, supplementing with cellular nutrients not readily found in a typical diet, such as urolithin A, nicotinamide riboside, and GlyNAC, can positively affect cellular aging.
There are also certain vitamins and minerals you can take to keep your body healthy for longer on the inside and out, as Trista Best, a registered dietitian, and Scott Antoine, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, previously told Insider’s Jocelyn Solis-Moreira.
“It is important to remember that we hold the power to optimizing our overall health and longevity, as our behaviors can help dictate our outcomes,” Reid said. “Adopting healthy habits that become part of our daily routine may be the most important predictor in adding years to our life, and life to our years.”
While diet and exercise are part of this, a healthy lifestyle also includes keeping your stress levels down, maintaining strong relationships, and meditating, Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported.
Too much high-intensity exercise does more harm than good
Staying active is important at any age, but it needn’t mean grueling workouts seven days a week.
A personal trainer with 1.3 million followers on Instagram, Michaels doesn’t exercise as much as many people might presume. The fitness entrepreneur said she works out a maximum of four times a week for 30 minutes.
“No one believes me, but it’s absolutely true,” she told the Daily Star. “Once you are in maintenance mode and you have control over your nutrition it’s much easier to stay in shape.”
Michaels has previously criticized the intensity of the popular training style CrossFit, Insider’s Gabby Landsverk reported.
“I love that people love CrossFit. I love that they love working out. But I wouldn’t even want someone doing a yoga workout every day,” Michaels said in an Instagram video in December. “If you love it, great, find an unbelievable coach … and don’t do it more than twice a week.”
Michaels isn’t the only health expert to stress the importance of recovery and spread the message that more isn’t always better.
Both professionals and fitness fans have increasingly prioritized rest days and sleep to benefit their performance and overall health.