The primary reason people like us exercise is for longevity. By people like us we mean the general population who don’t specialise in any particular discipline. Our definition of longevity, if we were asked, would be “to prolong our functional life”. In this post we’re going to address longevity specifically in terms of our training.
As you age, how fit can you stay?
For us longevity is not about living for as long as possible; we wouldn’t want to live until we’re 100 if we’re bedridden from the age of 80. To maintain our fitness as we age, is why we train – going for walks, playing golf, playing with the grandchildren, doing our own grocery shopping, being able to get out of bed in the morning, having energy throughout the day all contributes to our quality of life.
With the above in mind, we’re going to share 10 ways to promote longevity:
1. Don’t exceed your thresholds
– Physical and psychological thresholds are specific to the individual; somebody might be able to do 300 air squats and be able to walk just fine the following day, whereas another person may not be able to walk for 3 days afterwards, the latter would’ve clearly exceeded their physical threshold
– Knowing our thresholds is critical. When training for longevity, our goal should be to hit our threshold just enough so that an adaptation can take place. One of the values of having a personal trainer is that we know the thresholds of every one of our clients.
2. Prioritise range of motion
– As we age, we begin to lose our functional range of motion. Think about how the following tasks become progressively more challenging – lying down and standing up, getting dressed, reaching for something above our head, getting into and out of the car
– We’re not saying do yoga or ROMWOD every single day; however, adding in one or two sessions a week could really help attain/preserve full range of motion.
3. Train with loads
– Muscle mass is essential for functionality; we build and maintain muscle mass by doing strength training i.e., training with loads
– If we had to pick three movements, we would suggest the deadlift, squat, and press
4. Think movements, not muscles
– We’ve heard people say something like “today I’m training legs or back or biceps”, but we don’t believe this is the optimal approach
– Our muscles don’t work in isolation; our body is a system, and for the system to function properly, each part needs to fulfil its role
– We believe in thinking about movements – pushing, pulling, jumping, lunging, running, getting up from the ground.
5. Choose the standing option over the seated option
– The quote, “Sitting is the new smoking” comes to mind
– We’re not saying don’t ever do seated or prone or supine exercises but take the standing option if you have it. We believe it would be more beneficial because the whole body is made to work
6. Promote hip function
– If we lost our hip function, we lose the ability to walk, jump, sit down, and stand up
– Do exercises that promote hip function, in particular power. Sit-ups are good, but given the choice between kettlebell swings or sit-ups, we’d choose the former every time because we’re working through a range of motion, and that’s going to transfer much better into our daily life
7. Promote shoulder function
– The ability to hold and control a weight overhead is extremely important for longevity
– Do overhead exercises such as shoulder presses, jerks, snatches; however, we should always prioritise range of motion over load i.e., if our elbow is buckling under the load or if in the overhead position our arm is in front of our ear instead of behind it, we must reduce the load to allow for proper form
8. Include horizontal displacement exercises
– This is simply the ability to move a load. This could be moving from the seated to standing position, walking, running, flipping a tyre, pulling/pushing a sled, walking with a load overhead
– If we could comfortably carry two heavy kettlebells for 500m, imagine how good we’d be at walking
– This type of training has phenomenal carryover into our everyday life
9. Change up the exercises and workouts
– We’re not trying to get good at squats or pull-ups or deadlifts for the sake of it; the reason we exercise is to get good at activities in our daily lives
– We should vary our workouts to create as much exposure to as many different things as we possibly can
– We could change up the repetition scheme or do a set number of repetitions as fast as possible or do as many repetitions as possible in a set amount of time
– The combinations are endless, but change up the exercises and workouts often
10. Respect intensity
– The rush of endorphins after an intense workout is addictive; it’s one of the reasons why we come back for more
– If we push too hard too soon or too often, we will violate the first point we made, which is don’t exceed your thresholds
– It’s not all about personal bests. Those of us in the general population category aren’t training for performance, we’re training for longevity
Context is crucial. Understanding ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What’ to do with regards to training for longevity is absolutely essential for the general population.
Thank you for reading this post
We truly hope that you found this post valuable. If you have any questions or if you’d like to work with one of our experienced personal trainers, please feel free to contact us