Tired of sitting most of the time? You need to include some form of fitness to stay young, according to Ben Greenfield. Go for a combination of moving fast, moving slow, lifting heavy things, engaging in mobility and recovery in order to experience true and optimized health, longevity and beauty.
Are you familiar with the blue zones, such as Loma Linda (California), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Sardinia (Italy), Icaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan)? These are the parts of the world where people live longer and they have certain things in common. People living here have daily low-level physical activity, enjoy good air quality, clean water and quality exposure to sun shine. What we doesn’t seem to be a part of the longevity equation is people spending hours, beating themselves up in a gym.
Fitness, health, beauty and longevity need to go hand in hand for a fulfilled life. Mobility is key – treat your soft tissues in a manner that enhances your symmetry, the way your body appearance, the way you stand, move, the way you walk.
For a fulfilled and balanced lifestyle, 5 categories of fitness should be taken into consideration: flexibility, mobility & recovery, strength & muscle mass, muscular endurance and anaerobic capacity. Increase stamina through higher intensity cardio training which builds mitochondria density and lower intensity cardio training which builds cardiovascular endurance. To be able to keep your weight into place, you need to focus on developing your metabolic efficiency. This is the ability to turn your body into a fat burning machine though low level physical activity spread throughout the day, the ability to train your body to utilize use fatty acids as a fuel by engaging in fat burning all throughout the day.
To stay fit, you can perform minimum effective dose exercises or Tabata, where you can burn up to 13,5 calories a minute and double your metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterwards, according to The New Science Behind Tabata Training. For fitness purposes, controlling your blood glucose is also important. Only 30 seconds of high intensity exercise creates the ability inside the body to not have a high blood glucose response when you eat carbohydrates.
Top 4 ways to increase your metabolic efficiency
- waking up in a fasted state makes your body tap into its own fat as a fuel without you having to burn everything you had for breakfast.
- 10-20 min. movement session in your fat burning zone, first thing in the morning, for efficient fat-burning. The fat-burning zone is this easy aerobic conversational zone, like a walk, bike ride, easy-paced running, yoga.
- 5 min. of hot/cold contrast shower (20 sec cold, 10 sec hot 10 times) after the movement session releases nitric oxide which gets blood flowing everywhere in the body and converts fat cells into more metabolically active tissue.
- intermittent fasting 12-16 h fasting activates cellular autophagy. All cells have a built-in capacity to naturally die and be replaced by vibrant, new cells. Fasting is one of the best ways to trigger this autophagy or programmed cell death, and that is directly correlated with longevity.
Super slow training or why don’t need to kill yourself at the gym
High amounts of muscle mass are linked to increased risk of dying since you have to carry a lot of muscles, create a bunch of antioxidants to cool and repair all these muscles, says Greenfield.
The idea is to find the sweet spot of strength-to-muscle mass ratio, that is enough muscle mass to look good and enough strength to move functionally. Strength confers longevity, beauty and health.
Best strategy to achieve the strength-to-muscle mass ratio is super slow training. One set to failure, for example a set of push-ups, 5-10 sec down, 5-10 sec up, until muscles reach failure.
According to the researcher Doug McGuff, thanks to the slow training, you build up blood pressure, which is great for your cardiovascular system, and lactic acid. As the lactic acid builds up when you’re moving so slowly, even if that lactic acid is out of your system after 15-30 min of finishing the session, it causes the release of growth hormone. The growth hormone is associated with better sleep, beauty, longevity, building symmetry in the body and muscle growth.
Found these pieces of information useful? Learn more about Ben Greenfield’s work and train like a pro, get his longevity quest on Mindvalley.