Recently, Mark Sisson wrote an article called CrossFit Training: How to Support Overall Wellness and Longevity with Primal. I am a huge fan of Mark Sisson and I thought the article was great. As I reflected on it later, I thought to myself that this doesn’t apply just to crossfitters. This is information that applies across a wide swath of folks. So today, I give you excerpts from Mr. Sisson’s article, along with my own thoughts.
There are some who hold the view that at birth, each of us is allotted a finite supply of energy which exercise depletes, thus hastening our demise. An intense regimen like CrossFit in this paradigm, would hasten a person’s demise. That’s wrong, of course. Those who remain sedentary their entire lives often have short, miserable ones, while regular exercisers enjoy better health throughout their time on earth. Exercise has real potential to prolong life and compress morbidity.
Here is what exercise can do for you:
- Strength training promotes healthy longevity, even in people with hip fractures.
- The stronger your grip, the longer you live (even if you’re overweight).
- The more lean mass you carry, the better you’ll survive injuries and disease.
- The more briskly you walk, the lower your mortality risk.
- The more functionally capable you are, the longer you’ll stick around on this rock.
- In heart failure patients, a combo of endurance and resistance training is better for long term outlook than just endurance training.
However, living longer is more than just exercise. Here are some other key factors that will increase the quality of your life as you age.
- The regular consumption of omega-3-rich seafood and reduction in omega-6-rich seed oil consumption, which improves inflammatory status.
- The reduction or elimination of gut irritating-foods like gluten grains, which reduces gut inflammation and prevents excessive intestinal permeability.
- The consumption of full-fat dairy, which provides vital calcium and anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
- The promotion of barefoot living, which, provided you go slowly and gradually, increases foot strength, ankle stability and proprioception.
- Occasional fasting.
- Ample mobility training, good sleep, and mind-body intuition.
I know that a lot of people get freaked out about fasting, but the science is really clear that fasting is a great way to increase the process of autophagy. And autophagy (the killing off of bad cells in the body, like cancer cells) is turned on by fasting. I have to say that fasting is very adaptable and it doesn’t have to be done every day to reap the benefits. So, get over it already, if your shaking in your boots about missing one meal.
Other Nutrition Notes
Carbs: All else being equal, it’s a good idea to burn as much fat as you can and as little glucose. Burn the glucose you’ve earned, of course. I’ve always said that. But don’t eat extra if you don’t have to. Most of us are eating more than we need and can probably drop the carbs and, thus, the insulin, a bit without compromising our performance. Insulin you don’t really need will only hurt longevity.
Protein: Ample protein is absolutely critical for tissue repair when exercising. In short to medium-term studies, high protein intakes are great. They’re safe (as long as you don’t have pre-existing kidney trouble), they help people lose body fat and retain lean mass, they promote satiety and reduce hunger, and they improve body composition, especially if you’re lifting heavy things. We don’t have any strong direct evidence that high protein intakes reduce longevity in humans. If anything, older folks need more protein to derive the same effects because they’re less efficient at processing it. Some research suggests higher meat intakes are linked to better longevity in the elderly.
Sleep, Stress Management, Faith and Solid Relationships
All of the above lifestyle factors are also extremely critical in the battle to increase longevity. Numerous studies support the importance of good, quality sleep and finding ways to reduce stress and practice your faith. Solid relationships are directly correlated to happiness in many studies.
Taken all together, these various principles will lead to a longer, happier and more satisfying life. Much better than the alternative of being sick, unhealthy and having to sustain your life through prescription meds. That’s no way to live. Get fit. Get healthy. Live longer!