If You Want to Live a Long, Vital Life – Here’s the REAL Fountain of Youth
How long have people been looking for the fountain of youth?
Historical references date back to 500 B.C. – and the search for how to live a long, vital life continues today. We are taking supplements, wearing seat belts, and avoiding trans-fats and BPA-containing plastics, all hoping that we can live longer and be healthier.
But here’s what we know today that Ponce de Leon did not.
There is a fountain of youth – but it’s not a hidden place.
Actually, it’s right under our noses.
Research has shown that ten simple things can lower heart attack risk by 80%, cancer by a third, and add 12 or more years of life. And one of those ten is non-negotiable if your goal is to live your best life.
The REAL Fountain of Youth
The non-negotiable factor for a long, vital life is – physical activity.
Being physically active is one of the most effective tools you have for staying young for as long as possible.
But you already knew that. No one doubts the benefits of being active, but most aren’t taking advantage of this powerful tool despite this knowledge. Either they aren’t active because no one has shown them how to stick to it. Or they are active, but are not doing the right activities to optimize health and longevity.
Regardless of which one you are, the solution is the same if your goal is a long, healthy life,
You need to create YOUR longevity physical activity system.
If you don’t have a personalized physical activity system, you are almost certainly leaving healthy, vital years on the table.
What is a Longevity Physical Activity System?
There are three components to creating a personalized physical activity system that keeps you young:
· Aerobic activity
· Strength and stability training
· Not sitting (or NEAT)
Create your physical activity system for longevity
Step #1 – Aerobic activity
Aerobic activity can be anything that gets your heart rate up. Of course, walking is the most common, but you can also do biking, swimming, pickleball, or hundreds of other activities.
The minimum recommendation is for 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity. However, the optimal amount of aerobic activity for health and longevity depends on you and your goals.
Step #2 – Strength and stability training
We naturally lose muscle as we get older, and strength training is essential for any “anti-aging” strategy.
However, only about 20% of us do the minimum recommended amount of strength training, two sessions per week.
Getting started with strength training can be challenging because there are so many different variations and devices – it can be overwhelming as a beginner. But don’t let this stop you from getting the incredible benefits of strength and stability training. If you’re not comfortable with strength and stability training – or not sure what to do – get professional guidance to get started.
The minimum recommended strength and stability training is two sessions per week.
Step #3 – Minimize sitting
Research shows that sitting too much is potentially dangerous for our health
And this is important because we are sitting – a lot. Estimates vary, but the average person sits for about 10 hours a day. And sitting has increased significantly in recent years. One study found that sitting has increased by about 2 hours on average in the last ten years.
You may have heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Or the “sitting disease,” which refers to the increasing numbers of people who are inactive and have pre-diabetes. These concerns have been raised by research showing that more time spent sitting has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even death rates.
It’s clear that those who sit less have better health; however, the optimal amount of time hasn’t been defined. I recommend sitting for less than 4-8 hours a day for my clients, depending on the individual and their health and weight goals.
Optional – HIIT
High-intensity training (HIIT) HIIT is performing high levels of exertion or work for short bursts of time, alternating with lower levels of activity or rest, and has been one of the top fitness trends in recent years.
HIIT has NOT been proven to be better than traditional steady-state exercise for weight loss, metabolism, blood sugars, or heart function. However, HIIT does result in more fitness improvement than steady-state exercise.
The potential risks of HIIT are injury and not being able to stick with it over time.
If getting your exercise in a shorter time frame is attractive to you and you enjoy vigorous exercise, then HIIT may be a good option. However, if you do not like strenuous exercise and dread doing it, HIIT will not be your best option. Don’t believe the hype that says you must do HIIT to achieve your health and weight goals.
My advice to my clients about HIIT is – safety first. Go slow in the beginning and pay particular attention to good form and warming up.
So, there’s the three-part framework for creating your longevity physical activity system.
In other words, WHAT you need to do. But that’s not the same as HOW to do it – how to make aerobic activity part of your daily life, how to safely do strength and stability training, how to minimize sitting – and how to do all of it and enjoy it at the same time. And if at this point, you are wondering HOW to get the youthful benefits of a physical activity system into your life– and you are looking for expert guidance – here’s how I can help:
Schedule a strategy consultation with us by going to HealthspanMD.com/Talk(opens in a new tab).
In this strategy consultation(opens in a new tab), we will speak with you personally about what is holding you back – how you can start creating your physical activity system – and show you how to discover the research-proven fountain of youth – today.
And the cost of this valuable strategy session– absolutely free.
If you’re ready to book your strategy consultation, go to HealthspanMD.com/Talk(opens in a new tab).
And until then…
Lead the best life
- Robert Todd Hurst, MD, FACC, FASE