We all know that exercise benefits our heart, muscles, energy levels and mental stability as well as keeping our weight in check. But research has found that the way we exercise can actually promote longevity.
According to Eat This, Not That!, these science-backed fitness tricks can add years to your life:
- Socializing plus exercising is a winning combo. Playing team sports versus exercising solo boosts life expectancy, says Bustle. A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that social sports like tennis, badminton and soccer increase lifespan more than solo sports like cycling, swimming, jogging and solitary gym workouts. “For both mental and physical wellbeing and longevity, we’re understanding that our social connections are probably the single most important feature of living a long, healthy, happy life,” said cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe who is affiliated with Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. “Perhaps the most important feature of your exercise regimen is that it should involve a playmate.”
- Squats are key. Everyone should incorporate squats into their workouts, according to Eat This, Not That! While squatting builds strength in the legs and buttocks, it also improves posture, and increases bone density and strength. This, in turn, can boost longevity. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that older adults who were able to get up from a squatting position were less likely to die over the next six years than their peers who could not pick themselves up. Study author Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo said that while we know aerobic fitness strongly correlates to survival, his research shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength and coordination can favorably affect life expectancy.
- Turn up the intensity. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that adding 150 minutes of vigorous workouts weekly can extend lifespan. Researchers tracked more than 400,000 people over a six-year period. They found that individuals who performed high intensity workouts more frequently were at a much lower risk of all-cause early death, according to Eat This, Not That! Experts warn that exercisers should always listen to their body and not increase intensity when they are feeling exhausted.
- Pick up the walking pace. According to Medical News Today, walking briskly burns excess calories to help you lose weight. It can also help you live longer. Many studies have shown that brisk or fast-paced walkers tend to live longer than those who take a leisurely stroll. A study published in 2019 found that brisk walkers were found to have longer life expectancies regardless of their body mass index (BMI). On average, slow female walkers lived to be about 72 years of age, while the brisk walkers lived to the age of 87. Male walkers who walked slowly lived to 65 years of age, while their speedy counterparts lived to roughly 86 years of age, according to Eat This, Not That! “Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on life expectancy,” said lead study author Thomas Yates, from the University of Leicester. He added that physical fitness could be a better indicator of life expectancy than BMI.
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