5 Exercises for Longevity

5 Exercises for Longevity

July 9, 2024

By Missy Stidham

There are many ways in today’s society to try and “extend” life, but we would all agree that it is not the age we get to, but instead, how we feel and what we can do with our body, mind, and spirit as we age. The benefits of specific exercises and how they can increase longevity are proven, so if you want to live a longer, healthier life, you might want to incorporate these into your routine.

Remember that balance is key because overuse or overdoing it in any one type of exercise, such as only moving in one plane of motion or constant high intensity, can bring about reverse benefits and damage to the bones and joints.

I’d recommend changing things up. Have a plan for your weekly workout routine that is diverse and hits the whole body, giving you health benefits that include strengthening your cardiovascular system, increasing muscle mass, and reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Reducing health diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), high C-reactive protein – the list goes on –can be positively affected by these workouts.

So, what are the best ways to increase my lifespan and reduce mortality? Here are ways to live a longer and healthier life with different modalities and/or exercises that will get your body moving. Sedentary lifestyles do nothing for our bodies and are not how we were created. Question yourself in reading this, “Do I have a workout plan, and if I do workout, am I doing too much or too little?” If you can’t track it, you can’t train it. Be true to yourself and love yourself as we only have one body – and only you can be responsible for what you do with it.

popl in hiitzone

1) HIIT workouts

High-intensity interval training provides the benefit of increasing muscle and bone mass as well as EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) to keep your body burning up to 48 hours after your workout. This interval training also gives you shorter bursts of moderate to high-intensity bursts rather than long, steady cardio workouts. Stay engaged and get connected with mental and physical challenges as one of the many benefits of a HIIT workout. Not every HIIT workout is the same and HIIT workouts have options and different levels within the workout. Ask your coach which specific HIIT class would be recommended. For example, Accelerate HIIT allows you to move from base to moderate to hard intensity at 10 stations and use multiple pieces of equipment to drive up your cardio but also challenge with strength at the same time. HIIT classes bring teams together and with this class, the last 3 minutes of drill provide the best “finisher” to make you feel like you are truly part of a team and being rooted for. Everyone is a winner.

people running outside

2) Running and Walking

Depending on your current state and where you are able to do these types of cardio, this will never grow old. It actually will keep you young. Running has been shown to reduce premature death and walking in areas of the world-specifically in the Blue Zone areas, where this is the primary mode of transportation or “getting around. Their age of living goes up to 100 versus the average mean of 76.4 years for men and 79.3 for women in the U.S. Simple, no equipment required – and instead, tie it into your weekly routine. You can now tune in to nature or focus on a motivational podcast rather than zone out with TV or stay in a stooped posture texting on the phone. If walking or running is not your jam, consider rowing, cycling, and swimming as a great cardiovascular workout to add years to your life. Doing a workout with a friend in Tread-n-Shed or Tough Tread where you are constantly engaged, adding Rowing as part of your HIIT routine, or Cycling in our “RIDE”-your non-stop cardio will not only improve your health benefits but a sense of emotional well-being, too.

woman with crunch personal trainers

3) Strength Training

If having to look at the most important thing to build and do over time, in study-after-study, it is to strength train. The “use or lose it” mentality is important because, at a young age, we continue to strengthen our muscles and muscle mass. Some say that muscle mass is even a bigger organ than your skin. With that said, if you don’t have muscle mass when you get older, it will not protect you from fragility and falls. Bone health helps you live that longer, healthier life. Studies have shown that regular strength training has decreased the rate of all-cause mortality.

people in yoga class

4) Yoga

Stability, mobility, flexibility, and mind/body connection are just a few of the immediate and long-term benefits of yoga. It helps your entire body from injury as you age and reduce stress.

As you can see, life expectancy has gone up since the 1900s when 47 years was the average, which then rose to 68 years old in the 1950s. However, when you see the drop from 79 years to 77 between 2019 and 2020, you find a correlation between COVID-19 and drug overdoses, according to a Harvard Study.  What has not changed no matter where you live, what ethnicity or gender you are or the DNA makeup you are born with? Proper nutrition and exercise are the key. Health is the currency you always want to be rich in. Disease can and will strike any and all of us, but a stronger and more prepared body will help fight and sustain you when your immunity is fighting the battle. Rest and recovery are part of it, so don’t forget that allowing time for the body to heal with proper hydration, sleep, and nutrition puts us at our best ability mentally, physically, and emotionally to hit it up again with reduced risk of injury.

Overall, these “types” of workouts and long-term health benefits-creating a mindset and habit of making exercise part of your routine, will give your body healthier joints, bones, muscles, and overall well-being as you age.

Here are five GREAT Crunch workouts to get your body in motion in all planes of motion to live healthier and longer lives doing what we want to do as we age because we have loved on our body in a fit way:

  1. Yoga Body Sculpt: Strengthen your total body with this Vinyasa flow to sculpt your buns and thighs while flattening your belly and strengthening your core.
  2. Fat Burning Pilates: Bring on a sweat with this low-impact mat Pilates workout to help lean and tone your body to maximize your fat-burning potential.
  3. Chisel: Strength from all your large and small muscle groups to stress your muscles in a good way to build to support a strong body.
  4. All-Out Athlete: Release your inner athlete with this combination of strength with suspended resistance to plyometric and cardio drills in 360 planar motion for an amazing total body workout.
  5. Absolution: The perfect CORE strengthening solution concentrated on standing to floor work for ab-centric strengthening to floor work lengthening and deep stretching.

I leave you with this, “To sustain Longevity, you have to Evolve” says Aries Spears. This means change and variety are key to your success. The cornerstones and fundamentals of a long and healthy life don’t change; it’s what you do to get there that needs to change. Listen to your body, love your body, and do workouts with others that promote a sense of total well-being because if you aren’t liking the exercise you won’t continue it. The variety of classes and ways to hit your strength and cardio needs are endless. You are in the driver’s seat of the over 80% of our longevity that is not genetically determined. So, join the no excuses philosophy, get outside of your comfort zone, put “No Judgments” on your body, and be the best version of yourself every day! Don’t just extend your life – live your life to the fullest.

Missy Stidham is a Senior Director of Group Fitness for Crunch Undefeated Tribe of Greater Austin.

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