Exercise & Longevity – Recent Research and My Recommendations

September 04, 2019

I’m convinced that to live long and stay optimally functional as you age four things are essential: Exercise, Clean Food, Good Sleep, and focused supplements – likely in that order.

This recent published scientific paper out of Norway, looking at over 36,000 people over about six years, tried to answer the question;

Do physical activity and sedentary lifestyle impact longevity?

Here’s the takeaway from this recently published study:

  1. Low-intensity physical activity help boost longevity but requires more time doing it– roughly about 6 hours a day. Low-intensity may include walking from your desk chair to go to the bathroom, or a five minute walk to the cafeteria.
  1. High-intensity exercise for about 24 min/day also reduced the risk of mortality (running, weight-training, playing a sport, etc.)
  1. A very high risk of death was observed from 9.5 or more hours per day for time spent sedentary.

My recommendation based on my overall research on topic, personal and clinical experience on physical movement, and longevity:

  1. Even if you exercise one hour a day with moderate to high intensity, but still sit at a desk for > 8 hours, being sedentary for that long still prevents from living longer. What to do? Exercise vigorously for an hour a day and get up and walk for five to ten minutes for every hour you sit.
  1. With exercise, define your goal. For example, my goal is to be fit and athletic. I want to play a pick-up of basketball with my son at 60+ years of age. So, I train like an athlete. What to do?  Identify your health goals beyond wanting to live longer–we all want that. Do you want to be able to pick up groceries effortlessly as you age? Climb up a couple of flights of stairs with ease? Get down on the floor and play with kids and grandkids? Then train for that.
  1. Regardless of your personal health goals, you must apply strength training to your regimen. It’s simple; the stronger you are, the harder it is for you to die. There are also fewer injuries from being strong. Strength training includes pushing and pulling some weight. What to do?  Do body weight exercise, as in push-ups and pull-ups. If you’ve read some of my work in the past, you’d know I think deadlifts are king for strength training. When ready, do deadlifts.

Please take a moment to read David’s post on the benefits of exercise.

Much Love!

Dr. Geo