The longing for longevity is a quest as old as time. Who doesn’t want to stay young and full of energy forever?! We all want to live a long and healthy life, where we enjoy every day to the fullest.
In recent years, longevity has become a bit of a buzzword in the wellness industry. This is largely due to advancements in research that provide a better understanding on how to improve quality of life for longer.
Lifespan vs. healthspan
In the words of Dr Peter Attia, the goal of longevity can be described as lengthening your lifespan and simultaneously improving your healthspan.
You may not have considered the difference between lifespan and healthspan. Lifespan is how long a person lives, while healthspan is about the length of time that person is healthy, not just alive. The goal is both prolonged time and prolonged health.
So how do you improve your lifespan AND healthspan?
Exercise is the most beneficial thing you can do to extend your lifespan and healthspan. There are other factors at play, such as nutrition, stress and sleep. But physical activity (or lack thereof) is considered to have the biggest impact.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and neurodegeneration. There are many ways that physical activity improves healthspan:
- Improves mental cognition
- Slows or reverses cognitive decline
- Improves sleep quality
- Promotes better digestion and gut health
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves mood and mental health
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Increases energy levels
- Improves flexibility, balance and coordination
How much exercise is needed?
Anything is better than being sedentary! Generally, a combination of strength training and cardio exercise is considered to be the best way to improve healthspan.
Cardio exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, strengthens your heart and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. This reduces the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and stroke. It also can help maintain a healthy weight, avoiding the risk of obesity-related health problems.
Strength training, also known as resistance training or weightlifting, builds muscle strength and improves bone strength to allow you to function at a higher level for longer and avoid injury and falls. Maintaining muscle mass, healthy metabolism and joint stability are other factors.
In the pursuit for longevity, exercise is a superpower. The benefits of walking, jogging, cycling, weightlifting, swimming or any other form of moving and strengthening your body can not be understated. So if you want to create a future where your body doesn’t limit you, exercise holds the key.
For personalised advice on how to reach your short and long term health goals to live longer and healthier, book a free fitness consultation today.