Regular physical activity is a prerequisite for being healthy and living long. In the foundation of longevity, sport is the cornerstone.
In addition to proper nutrition, normal sleep, the development of positive thinking and stress tolerance, a healthy lifestyle must include physical activity.
But to say that “you need to go in for sports” means to say nothing! This is about the same as saying that you need to eat. You need to know how to eat right to be healthy and live long.
You also need to have an idea of which sport will prolong your life, and which will harm or be useless. Not all sports that are called sports, and not all of its types are good for health and longevity. It is believed that the most useful sport is swimming (read more about this in our article).
Shooting, billiards, golf, darts are completely useless in terms of life extension, and weightlifting, powerlifting, arm wrestling will only do harm. Among mental sports, intellectual sports stand apart – checkers and chess.
It is necessary to understand the mechanisms of action of different types of physical activity.
The most physiological is the load, where there is movement. That is, usually, when we talk about the need to play sports, we mean aerobic or cardio exercise in order to increase blood circulation, train the heart muscle, improve microcirculation, metabolism, oxygen transport, burn calories, etc.
In the first place must be aerobic exercise with a certain dosage in time (normally it is 1 hour) and the corresponding heart rate (pulse). Remember the main rule – do no harm!
What sports are suitable for such a load? Suitable: running, skiing, swimming, tennis, cycling, all kinds of active games: football, basketball, hockey, etc.
In addition, while recommending the necessary sports activities, one should also give recommendations on what exactly the correct load should be. And it must be comprehensive. For the future centenarian, in addition to cardio loads, strength training is necessary, as well as flexibility and stretching.
No matter how good and useful aerobic exercise is, it alone will not give all that is required to maintain the desired shape for active longevity.
Power load is required so that the muscles do not become decrepit with age. Just running is good, but they run with their feet, and the muscles of the hands do not receive the proper load. In addition, running does not in any way contribute to the development of spine flexibility, and this is necessary, because youth and flexibility are two inseparable concepts.
There are certain requirements for physical activity in order to prolong life. After the age of 40, you should no longer compete with anyone and set records. We are faced with a completely different task – to provide ourselves with physical activity commensurate with age and sufficient for health and longevity. You can not work to the limit, work to the limit.
The load should be primarily enjoyable for you. You need to train on a pulse that does not exceed the value, which is calculated by the formula:
200 minus your age (for women – another minus 10)
So, if your age is 55, then you need to practice with a heart rate of no more than 145 beats per minute (200 – 55 = 145). This is the ultimate heart rate for a health workout. These days, there are many fitness bracelets to control your heart rate.
Any static load is harmful to longevity. Exercises in which muscle tension occurs while holding the breath and without motor activity are not physiological, and therefore harmful, because they disrupt blood flow, increase blood pressure, which leads to early wear of the heart. Only exercises with such a load that you are able to perform at least 20 times and still breathe freely are useful. For example, push-ups from the floor or exercises with a barbell of very light weight.
During physical activity, the muscles alternately contract, thereby helping the heart to pump blood, removing some of the load from it.
With age, muscle mass decreases. Therefore, it is necessary to support it with strength exercises of a dynamic nature. The optimal amount of load is the one that ensures the maintenance of muscle mass at the same level.
It is very important to train endurance. Endurance training allows you to increase the number of stem cells.
In addition to strength and endurance training, it is important to mention spinal flexibility training. We are young while we are flexible!
Next, we give a set of simple exercises that, when performed daily, will allow you to keep your spine in shape. It will take no more than 5 minutes to complete them.
- We stand with our hands up. Legs shoulder width apart. Without changing the position of the hands, we perform 10 tilts to the right, then 10 to the left and 10 tilts back. Tilts are performed as deep as you can bend.
- Without bending your knees, we perform 10 forward bends, trying to touch the floor with your hands.
- Without changing the vertical position and without lifting the legs, (arms can be bent at the elbows) we twist the spine, turning 10 times to the right and left, as far as you can turn.
And the last type of sports training is sports for the mind, brain activity training. Checkers and chess are well suited for the development of brain activity, which helps to increase life expectancy.
Details on why active intellectual activity contributes to longevity are described in our article "Why smart people live longer?".