Longevity is something that is very desirable, but we want to live longer as healthy and strong as we can and on our own terms!
What really determines longevity?
Key Rule #1—Cardiovascular Exercise.
Lack of Exercise is the #1 Predictor of Chronic disease! Regular exercise reduces inflammation and oxidative stress on all bodily systems. Aerobic Exercise fights aging, improves resilience and releases endorphins, our “feel good” hormones! Decline in physical activity leads to an increase in body fat as we age and metabolism naturally slows down. .
What is a good goal for this?: Ideally, working at Perceived Exertion of “Moderately Hard to Hard” —30 mins 3x per week ( that’s 65-75% HRR --Heart Rate Range)
Working at Perceived Exertion of “Hard to Vary Hard”—20 mins 2x per week. (that’s 75-85% HRR)
Key Rule #2—Resistance Training
We all start to lose strength and muscle by age 40 and some before this. A basic free weight resistance training program (15-20 mins basic) and bodyweight training (pilates/yoga) reverses the aging process itself.
What is a good goal for this?: I recommend people do weight training 2-x per week and fill in other spaces with a pilates or yoga class. Yoga is also something you want to consider for lengthening and strengthening the body at the same time, as well as being mind and breath-focused. This is important because it teaches us calming techniques, trains us in mindfulness and improves brain functioning. Rest days during the week are very important—2 open days without anything but walking/hiking/stretching.
Key Rule #3—Keep moving! 8000 steps per day is one marker, and this is not the same as a “workout”, but moving is essential. Sitting all day, even if one does exercise outside of work or home, is not good for us—the accompanying alignment issues and compression of central organs affect metabolic function including breathing, so consider moving every 30 mins for 3 mins, stand-up desk, etc. And you know its true: Sitting is the new Smoking….
Key Rule #4—Eat a Healthy Plant-based Diet
The Mediterranean way of eating is considered the healthiest “diet” in the world—Plant based, small amounts of meat and fish, large amounts of veggies, some fruits, fermented foods, some grains and nuts. Healthy fats like olive oil, real butter—add coconut oil as well. Telomere length has been shown to increase with this type of diet.
For more on the importance of telomeres to your health and longevity, click here:
Key Rule #5 Get Optimal Sleep When we sleep, our bodies are working hard to heal, restore, and renew. One of it’s most important roles is in detoxifying the brain! Everyone needs 6-8 hours and 8 is ideal for most. If you can find a 2-3 days that you don’t have to wake up with an alarm, go to sleep at the same time each night and just let your body wake up when it wants to. Take the average of those time frames and that will give you a good idea of how much sleep you need.
For more information about sleep’s role in keeping your healthy as well as great ideas to make changes, Click here for a great NPR story, very much worth listening to— and heeding!
Key Rule #6 Manage Stress
Chronic stress, and the lack of self-care and stress management, is one of the markers leading to premature aging and Dementia. (Unmanaged stress also has a very negative effect on telomeres). Chronic stress results in the release of cortisol all the time, 24-7, and excessive cortisol release leads to chronic blood sugar fluctuations, inflammation, and will eventually lead to chronic disease, adrenal fatigue and exhaustion and auto-immune dysfunction. Check out two blogs on my bestuwellness website that address some of the affects of unmitigated stress in your life and also give you great tips to create changes!
Deep breathing as a normal part of your daily routine is also really be helpful:
Take a couple of minutes of a deep cleansing breath every day to help alleviate anxiety as it is happening, or as a calming and restorative practice at any time--so, during your work day when it's crunch-time or driving home at the end of a packed day when you need to calm down and prepare for a home landing. This could be a centering morning or relaxing bed-time ritual. Do this seated or as an intentional practice when lying down, and it will help stabilize your emotions and bring energy, clarity and focus to your mind. It helps relax muscles, joints and nerves. (yoga focuses on the breath as an anchor so it is a really great thing to do)
Try breathing in sync to this diagram (or use the one pictured below) and then continue to lengthen the breath even further. Breathe in thru the nose and push out thru the mouth, all while in alignment--seated, standing or lying down.
Key Rule #7 Light to Moderate Alcohol Intake. Less than 2 drinks per day and I would add only a few times per week to control waistline area. Drinking more at night will also interfere with your deep sleep phase which is crucial for the brain and body detox, repair and rejuvenation.
Key Rule #8 No smoking! Nuff said. That also includes Vaping!
Key Rule #9 Specifically for aging adults—Regular activity is a must, as is having Purpose, a mIssion and a strong social network, Body Balance work, Strength training, alignment and stability work is essential to prevent falls and help mitigate normal aging muscle loss, Same eating guidelines as previously mentioned above—Eat less, but much more nutrient-dense, and Plant based!
Key rule #10 Health Awareness 911! PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HEALTH, give it the time it deserves!.
Click here for a great TedX: about the characteristics of living longer and a deep look into Blue Zones --areas in the world where people are living to age 100 at rates up to 10 times greater than we are, where the life expectancy is an extra dozen years, and the rate of middle age mortality is a fraction of what it is in this country.
Now the ball’s in Your Court!
Need help forming the right plan of action for you and making it simple and easy? Contact me here!
Be Well! Carol