When’s the time to start thinking about longevity?
The answer to this question is now, no matter what your current age is! In Nimble Fitness, our New York City functional strength and conditioning studio, we coach the mindset of having longevity habit systems or LHS. These include habits that help our mind, body and soul integrate and lead us toward optimal health.
Before we dive in, we need to explore longevity for a minute. In Nimble, when we talk about longevity, we mean health and function span. This means that in our “wisdom years” we have vibrant health, good energy, functional posture, quality gait, a solid baseline of strength and movement efficiency.
At this point in our lives, we have made it past some of the big dis-eases that can end people’s lives early. Watching my father struggle with his health and dying at the age of 46 is a big spark for my passion for longevity. I got to witness firsthand, that what we do now, tells the story for how we function later.
Let’s start by saying that all quality holistic lifestyle habits go into this grouping of LHS. This includes getting quality sleep, incorporating whole foods into our diet and daily movement.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Blue Zones lately. Blue Zones are small pockets around the world where there are people living from 90-120yrs old that are healthy and vibrant. What researchers have found is that there are direct links to our lifestyle that play a major role in how long we live. Longevity habit systems are the life practices we adopt that support these concepts.
Here are some of their findings:
1.Maintaining muscle mass
A major finding when studying people that not only make it to but thrive in their wisdom years is their muscle mass. This says a ton and is directly linked to other keys longevity.
More muscle means these people exercise more, load their body through their work or daily chores and challenge themselves physically. Having more muscle means maintaining better posture, having good balance and being able to do things we love.
What struck me the most about all the different elements shared in the Blue Zones that help with longevity is that they all point back at keeping stress at a minimum.
The human body combats stress every day. There are mental, physical, electromagnetic, physiological and environmental stressors. Every moment of every day we are either or helping or hurting our longevity.Most people will toggle back and forth between being anabolic or catabolic. Which means they are either building and rejuvenating tissue or breaking it down.
People in these zones live around a community that is supportive which also helps to bring down stress levels. All these key points mentioned in this article help lower stress which in turn helps us all with a better sense of well-being.
Being thankful can be a helpful tool to connect to the present moment and is extremely affective at cultivating energy. It also helps us with maintaining healthy agency in our lives. LHS number one in my book is sharing, living and being in a mindset of gratitude. We can do this through meditation or simply doing things we love. But it’s important to state it and help the mind absorb this intent into our subconscious. It might take a little time but that’s what longevity is about. Developing consistent practices that support a full life experience. Having healthy practices that compound over time like your 401k, to deliver in our wisdom years with vibrant, functional health is obtainable for us all.
How we eat and digest what we eat, matters immensely. In Blue Zones people eat whole foods and not too much. They eat high nutrient dense foods and learn to stop at 80% full to avoid over consuming. Most but not all eat a vegetarian diet. They eat live foods to cultivate vibrant health through their nutrition. They connect to their relationship with food. That includes, what we eat, how we eat and when we eat.
When I say socialize, I’m including family, friends, groups and animals. The more we stay active in our relationships the more joy it seems people have in the wisdom years. Quality family and friend relationships add to our life happiness and overall life experience. Pets offer unconditional love and our relationships with them can also make deposits into our longevity bank.
Where we live seems to matter and, my guess, goes back to our number two above. Stress! If we live somewhere with fresh air and nature all around us, it’s an amazing contributor, helping to cultivate energy.
Just being in nature and getting our feet on the ground can help elevate energy or “chi” organically. Environments that are low stress and high in nature help us maintain our longevity. This doesn’t mean we have to leave our beloved NYC or that we are doomed if we live in urban areas. It does mean, though, that it’s important to make managing stress, getting in nature, training our bodies, and getting quality sleep a daily priority. Hence the LHS. The better we are at making and sticking to systems, the easier it will be to achieve these goals.
Many people living in the Blues Zones move most of the day, every day. Working in the garden, playing games, hiking or simply doing chores. Movement and exercise are some of the secrets to longevity. We must be functionally strong and maintain healthy balance so that we can challenge ourselves when we are in our wisdom years.
Here are some LHS that help to cultivate longevity:
- Daily gratitude meditations. Meditations of any kind, walking, Thai Chi or any other practice that brings you a sense of wellbeing.
- Consistent sleep cycles. Go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day.
- Consistent, daily training programs. It’s important to strength train and make it a priority to build/maintain muscle mass.
- Daily, weekly, monthly or bi-monthly nature sessions- time spent in nature is extremely healthy for us all.
- Weekly or monthly social time. It’s important to stay connected with friends and family over the long term.
- Making a habit to stop eating at 80% full.
- Walking practice. This means walking without bags and being mindful of keeping a good posture, flowing tempo and full body expression with your gait. This means allowing your rib cage to rotate as you walk. Walking can be extremely healing and it’s vital to our longevity but walking with intent is an LHS. If we train our minds how to function optimally during our younger years, we set ourselves up for quality function during our wisdom years.
This list above can go on and on. The secret is that we take the time to assess ourselves and become conscious of what’s working or not in our lives, then do the work! The work needed to shift old subconscious programming that’s keeping us stuck in the past. Once we are aware of our blocks, we can then take action.
Need some help creating your LHS? Reach out for a coaching session!