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5 Top Activities That Can Increase Your Lifespan | CrunchyTales

5 Top Activities That Could Potentially Increase Your Lifespan

4 min read

It’s common knowledge that exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, is it possible that specific forms of exercise can contribute to a longer lifespan?

We inherit longevity from our ancestors, through modified genes that protect against the risk of diseases related to ageing – says Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, author of The Longevity DietHowever, if we want to go one step further in delaying the ageing process and, thus, also reducing the risk of disease, it is necessary to do daily physical activity. In order to stimulate the body to optimize its physiological functions, as well as promote muscle maintenance, it’s important to choose one that involves movement of the whole body for at least 5-10 hours a week, but without exceeding it. ”

Genes are only part of the equation for most of us. According to Dr. Thomas Perls, an ageing expert and director of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University School of Medicine: “Genes account for less than one-third of your chances of surviving to age 85. The vast majority of variation in how old we live to be is due to our health behaviours. Our genes could get most of us close to the remarkable age of 90 if we lead a healthy lifestyle.

Getting your body moving is a clear winner for your overall health and well-being. Here are 5 activities that according to experts could potentially lengthen your life.

Walking

Walking is one of the best-studied forms of physical activity, with clear longevity benefits. Decades of research have documented the positive impact of walking on overall health.

It strengthens the heart and circulatory system, improves blood sugar control, helps maintain a healthy weight, and even reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies have also consistently shown a link between regular walking and a longer lifespan. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that walking just 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death.

Water workouts

Water exercises are gentle on the joints. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on bones and muscles, making it suitable for those with arthritis or injuries.

Exercises like aqua jogging, wild swimming or water aerobics get your heart rate up without the impact of running or jumping. Water resistance also provides a natural form of weight training, strengthening muscles, enhancing flexibility, improving circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease.

For those midlife women looking for something more challenging, canoeing has been proven as a low-impact exercise that works your core and cardiovascular system. The paddling motion strengthens your back and arms, while steadily elevating your heart rate for extended periods. Canoeing with friends or family also fosters social ties, another key factor in longevity identified by researchers in areas known for high life expectancy.

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Dancing

Dancing requires coordination and movement, which strengthens core muscles and improves balance. This can significantly reduce the risk of falls, a major concern for seniors. Dance movements help keep joints loose and improve overall flexibility, making daily activities easier.

The kind of dancing you engage in and the duration of your session will determine the workout you receive. According to the National Institutes of Health, an hour of traditional ballroom dancing will give your body a workout similar to brisk walking. On the other hand, an hour of salsa or an aerobic dance class will make you feel like you’re running or swimming laps.

Weight lifting

As we age, it’s natural to lose muscle mass, which can lead to weakness and difficulty with everyday activities. Weight training helps counteract this by strengthening and building muscle, and improving balance and coordination. Weightlifting puts stress on bones in a positive way, stimulating them to become denser and more resistant to fractures. This is especially important as osteoporosis becomes a greater risk factor later in life.

Lifting weights also strengthens the muscles you use for daily tasks, making things like climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and getting around the house much easier. This translates to greater independence and a more active lifestyle.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider joining a class or working with a personal trainer or physical therapist, she suggests.

Racquet sports 

Unlike some activities like running or jumping jacks, racquet sports are gentler on the joints. The court surfaces are often softer than pavement, and the movements themselves involve less stress on knees, ankles, and hips. This makes them a good option for people who might have joint pain or concerns.

Racquet sports still get your heart rate up and blood pumping, though. This is important for maintaining cardiovascular health, which can help ward off heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions. Not even to mention the fact that many racquet sports are played in doubles, providing a fun way to socialize and stay connected with others. Whether it’s pickleball, padel, tennis, or table tennis they can be a big boost for mental and emotional well-being, which is also important for healthy aging. 

Conclusion

So what are the most suitable activities to keep us healthy and live longer? “If we think that our ancestors, since prehistoric times, moved at a brisk pace across vast territories, we can assume that physical activity for the human body is the fast walk par excellence – explains Longo-. The advice is to practice a steady and regular walk at a sustained pace, for at least 1 hour a day“.

Keep up with the exercise you love! The advantages of staying active are extensive. And if you’re looking to begin a regular exercise routine, you’re more likely to stay committed if you find something that brings you joy.

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