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The Best Exercise and Diet For Longevity

The Best Exercise Routine For Longevity

Exercise has changed both of our lives since we were young we played sports, ran around playing cops and robbers, biked around our neighborhoods, and now we are involved in combat sports. Even a simple, 30-minute workout, run in the morning can help achieve a mental sharpness ready to kick start the day. 

Blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move can’t breathe, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion required for proper joint nutrition, for the activities of daily living, or for the stimulation of the joint-brain pathways required for proper brain and body function. Without movement, there truly is no life, and it’s understandable on a purely biological level.

It’s the same way with diet, believe it or not. Eating foods high in nutrients means they can be absorbed well by the body and delivered to cells. Eating high-fiber foods ensures timely digestion and elimination of wastes, whereas overconsumption of animal fats and low-fiber foods leads to colonic inactivity and constipation.

Blue Zones

In order to understand longevity, we need to look at the Centenarians which are located mostly in the blue zones of the world. Blue Zones are regions of the world where a higher than the usual number of people live much longer than average. Five “Blue Zones” have been posited: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece)

Here are some characteristics of people inhabiting the Blue Zones:

  1. Moderate, regular physical activity
  2. Life purpose
  3. Stress reduction
  4. Moderate caloric intake
  5. Plant-based diet
  6. Moderate alcohol intake, especially wine
  7. Engagement in spirituality or religion
  8. Engagement in family life
  9. Engagement in social life

Dr. Valter Longo is one of the world’s experts on longevity. He is the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. Longo has studied longevity for more than 30 years, and he has concluded how to exercise to increase a healthy lifespan. In fact, his research shows that physical activity is the number 2 factor affecting lifespan, behind the only diet.

Here is the routine that Dr. Longo recommends to maximize your longevity: 

Walk fast for an hour every day

This doesn’t have to happen all at once, be conscious of where you can implement walking for example a 15-minute walk away from your house to the coffee shop instead of driving. Find places that are walkable and go there every day.

Do cardiovascular exercise for 2.5–5 hours per week

The key is working your body to the point of breathing rapidly and sweating. Running, biking or swimming are all great options. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing exercise that increases a person’s heart rate to between 50 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. This range is called the target heart rate zone.

Use weight-training or weight-free exercises to strengthen muscles

You have more than 600 muscles in your body that contribute to about 40% of your total body weight. By exercising, you are strengthening your muscles, which improves stability, balance, and coordination.

A large Australian study from 2015 of over 200,000 people aged 45–75 found that those who exercised (at moderate to vigorous levels) at least 2.5 hours per week had a 47% reduction in overall mortality. Going up to 5 hours per week led to a 54% reduction in mortality.

The best diet for longevity 

The diet suggestions are based on Dr. Valter Longo and his book: The Longevity Diet

  1. Eat mostly vegan, plus a little fish, limiting meals with fish to a maximum of two or three per week. Choose fish, crustaceans (crab, lobster, shrimp), and mollusks (Oysters, squid, Oysters, Scallops) with a high omega-3, omega-6, and vitamin B12 content (salmon, anchovies, sardines, cod, sea bream, trout, clams, shrimp.  Pay attention to the quality of the fish, choosing those with low levels of mercury
  2. If you are below the age of 65, keep protein intake low (0.31 to 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). That comes to 40 to 47 grams of proteins per day for a person weighing 130 pounds, and 60 to 70 grams of protein per day for someone weighing 200 to 220 pounds. Over the age of 65, you should slightly increase protein intake but also increase consumption of fish, eggs, white meat, and products derived from goats and sheep to preserve muscle mass. Consume beans, chickpeas, green peas, and other legumes as your main source of protein.
  3. Minimize saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (meat, cheese) and sugar, and maximize good fats and complex carbs. Eat whole grains and high quantities of vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, legumes, etc.) with generous amounts of olive oil (3 tablespoons per day) and nuts (1 ounce per day).
  4. Follow a diet with high vitamin and mineral content, supplemented with a multivitamin buffer every three days.
  5. Select ingredients among those discussed in this book that your ancestors would have eaten.
  6. Based on your weight, age, and abdominal circumference, decide whether to have two or three meals per day. If you are overweight or tend to gain weight easily, consume two meals a day: breakfast and either lunch or dinner, plus two low-sugar (less than 5 grams) snacks with fewer than 100 calories each. If you are already at a normal weight, or if you tend to lose weight easily or are over 65 and of normal weight, eat three meals a day and one low-sugar (less than 3 to 5 grams) snack with fewer than 100 calories.
  7. Confine all eating to within a twelve-hour period; for example, start after 8 a.m. and end before 8 p.m. Don’t eat anything within three to four hours of bedtime.

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