• Hana Kovac

The Best Exercise

Maybe you've heard about 'Blue Zones', regions of the world where people enjoy much healthier and longer lives (Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California). It was Dan Buettner who first coined this term and if you've seen the Human Longevity Project Film, you will agree that none of the centenarians did a treadmill workout, spent countless hours in a fitness club or counted their steps. When Dan Buettner asked very long-lived Costa Ricans to share the secret to their longevity, they said they enjoyed doing physical work all their lives.

Now, that doesn't mean you should cancel your subscription to your favorite crossfit club, it just means that exercise should be fun and even if exercise is very important for health and overall wellness, it's also important not to overexercise. Our body needs rest to rejuvenate and our knees, hips, and joints can eventually get damaged by if we exercise too much.

What Is the Best Exercise?

You might ask what is the best exercise to stay healthy and live a long, chronic disease free life? The number one would be a movement you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes - walking. Walking strengthens the heart, is not just for beginners (although beginners should start by walking five to 10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes per session). To walking, you can add the so called 'interval training' - varying your pace throughout the exercise. This means you push the intensity or pace for a minute or two, then back off for anywhere from two to 10 minutes.

As Dr. Valter Longo points out in his book The Longevity Diet, 'humans evolved as a species that walks, runs, climbs trees and hills, and uses a variety of muscles all the time. Now we use elevators instead of stairs, drive instead of walk, buy food instead of growing it, and hire people to do even minor repair work around the house instead of fixing things ourselves.' But thousands and thousands of years of evolution are not easily undone - every muscle in our body needs to be used frequently, otherwise it doesn't grow and maintain itself. That is why the most natural exercises such as squatting, weightlifting, sprinting are the best to keep in shape. Weightlifting is often underestimated, especially among women who think they will get 'bulky'. But weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones, increases strength in connective tissues and joints, and it will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture.

Remember, exercising should be fun and if you need to drag yourself from the couch to drive to the nearest workout club, try going for a walk instead, lift your kids a few times in a row or sprint while you are playing with your dog.

A Few Notes On Hydration When You Exercise

Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water and every system in your body needs water to function. As the body loses water and electrolytes while sweating during exercise, it is essential to drink plenty of water before, during, and after a workout. Everybody varies in the amount of water they need, depending on the type of exercise, how much they sweat, how thirsty they are, as well as other factors. The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. This is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables. Of this total, men should drink around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it's 9 cups. [source].

To read more about lifestyle for longevity: https://www.knowledgeformen.com/9-tips-for-a-longer-life/

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