What is Longevity Fitness?, by @andrarchy

The goal of Longevity Fitness is to help reorient the fitness conversation away from a focus on aesthetics (size) or strength, and toward a focus on lifespan and healthspan.

Why?

I started the Longevity Fitness community, not because I know everything about fitness training for longevity, but because I know so little and am hoping to work together with other people who are interested in this nascent area of fitness.

I'm only starting out on this journey, but the best resource I have found so far is Dr. Peter Attia. Dr. Attia is a physician and former endurance athlete who graduated from Stanford Medical School and then spent five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland as a general surgery resident. His podcast The Drive seems to be his preferred content channel and it's a great resource for longevity related content.

Dr. Attia's YouTube channel has had a much larger impact on my regular workouts. Specifically he has two video series with two different physical therapists where they go through a sequence of warm up exercises.

Neck, Lower Back, Shoulders

The first series is geared toward rehabilitating the neck, upper back and shoulders. The goal here is to counteract the stationary, screen-focused, postures that are dominating our daily lives.

Glutes and Hips

The second series is for warming up the glutes and hips prior to lifting. I primarily do kettlebell exercises with wide ranges of motion and I've been surprised at how much they activate my leg muscles and glutes. So I do these warmups practically every session.

Unfortunately a lot of my conclusions are essentially derived from the assumption that if Dr. Attia is recommending these exercises then they are good for longevity. That's obviously not ideal.

Underlying Principles

I think what we really need are a set of underlying principles that we can build off of. What are the "first principles" of longevity fitness? I believe that one potential core principle would be that injury is one of the biggest threats to longevity. For example, while lifting heavy weights or running long distances might make you feel healthier today, these activities likely carry with them a risk that you will seriously injure yourself, or sustain injuries that only manifest in old age. Another way of putting this is that they have high "tail risks."

Mitigating Risk

Effectively warming up and stretching critical body parts (e.g. the neck, lower back, and hips) could mitigate these risks. Choosing different exercises that produce similar results could further reduce that risk. For example, I believe that studies have shown that one can get nearly the same cardiovascular benefits from much briefer sessions of high intensity interval training than longer steady-state exercises. While people tend to focus on which exercise type results in the incrementally better cardiovascular effects, they typically ignore the question of whether steady-state exercise puts more stress on the body (specifically the joints), thereby increasing longevity-related risk.

This just highlights how much of the conversation is framed not around living longer, healthier lives, but around the things we can measure in the short term like how many miles you can run, your BMI, or how much weight you can push. These likely have very little to do with being healthier aside from the fact that they are likely better than doing nothing.

I hope you will join me on this journey by contributing valuable information and insights to this community. Thanks for reading!

13.576 SBD

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@tts:

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@revisesociology:

Hi,

I've never heard of this before, so cheers for sharing.

Right up my street, long been into Tai Chi and Yoga which I guess have the same focus!


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@soyrosa:

Lovely! I probably have some stuff to research or a different perspective to add to this topic:I live with limited mobility so 'fitness' while at the same time being 'limited' are definitely topics I'm thinking about/struggling with. This sounds like a healthy perspective on fitness, didn't hear of it before. Nice topic for a new community :-) Cheers!


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@timcliff:

I have recently started heading down a similar path myself. I looked into a lot of options for workout routines, and ended up joining a local orange theory fitness gym. They use a variety of exercises within an hour, and one of the main goals is to get your heart rate within a certain target for at least 12 minutes of the workout. I'm liking it so far.

The podcast sounds interesting. I'll check it out. Thanks for sharing :)