Why Exercise is a Game-Changer for Longevity

5 min read

Jan 19, 2024 - jennifer maples
LONGEVITY

Why Exercise is a Game-Changer for Longevity

5 min read

Jan 19, 2024 - jennifer maples
LONGEVITY

*This post is adapted from an original post by Aastha Jain Simes, found hereto learn more about livelongerworld, with permission from the author

*This post is adapted from an original post by Aastha Jain Simes, found hereto learn more about livelongerworld, with permission from the author
Exercise is more than a way to stay fit; it's a powerful tool for extending your lifespan. Longevity expert, Dr. Peter Attia agrees, describing exercise as “the single most important longevity drug we have.” In fact, following an exercise program that focuses on strength, muscle mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness can reduce your risk of dying from a chronic disease by five times. Let that sink in for a minute.
Exercise is more than a way to stay fit; it's a powerful tool for extending your lifespan. Longevity expert, Dr. Peter Attia agrees, describing exercise as “the single most important longevity drug we have.” In fact, following an exercise program that focuses on strength, muscle mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness can reduce your risk of dying from a chronic disease by five times. Let that sink in for a minute.
01

Benefits of Exercise

Burning calories and preventing weight gain are well-known advantages of exercising. But that’s not the only reason it’s good for you. Exercise can build muscle and increase flexibility, stability, and mobility as you age in addition to health benefits that go beyond the surface, including:
  • Brain health. Exercise boosts levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a special protein known to improve memory and learning capacity. Recent studies also suggest regular activity can reverse the signs of brain aging. [01]
  • Mood support. When you exercise, the body releases feel-good chemicals that can help reduce depression and anxiety. [02]
  • Stress reduction. Working out also releases endorphins, natural chemicals that can make you feel less stressed. Since chronic stress can lead to health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, regular exercise is key to aging well. [03]
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis. Additionally, regular activity stimulates the production of new mitochondria, keeping your body’s energy factories running smoothly. This is especially important as mitochondria function typically declines with age and can lead to an increase in oxidative stress, which accelerates aging. [04]
01

Benefits of Exercise

Burning calories and preventing weight gain are well-known advantages of exercising. But that’s not the only reason it’s good for you. Exercise can build muscle and increase flexibility, stability, and mobility as you age in addition to health benefits that go beyond the surface, including:
  • Brain health. Exercise boosts levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a special protein known to improve memory and learning capacity. Recent studies also suggest regular activity can reverse the signs of brain aging. [01]
  • Mood support. When you exercise, the body releases feel-good chemicals that can help reduce depression and anxiety. [02]
  • Stress reduction. Working out also releases endorphins, natural chemicals that can make you feel less stressed. Since chronic stress can lead to health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, regular exercise is key to aging well. [03]
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis. Additionally, regular activity stimulates the production of new mitochondria, keeping your body’s energy factories running smoothly. This is especially important as mitochondria function typically declines with age and can lead to an increase in oxidative stress, which accelerates aging. [04]
02

Which Types of Exercises are Best?

There are three categories of activities that offer the most bang for your (longevity) buck: High-intensity interval training, strength and resistance training, and zone 2 training.

High-Intensity Interval Training

Also known as HIIT, these short, intense bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods. Much like OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide, HIIT is an incredibly effective way to reduce senescent (or damaged, dysfunctional) cells in the body. HIIT stimulates autophagy, a cellular cleanup process that helps prevent age-related diseases. HIIT also increases your heart rate and challenges your VO2 max, a key measure of cardiovascular fitness. By pushing these limits, HIIT can enhance your heart health and overall fitness. Improved VO2 max is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality, making HIIT a valuable tool for boosting long-term health and wellness. [05] One type of HIIT workout is called Tabata, a quick 20-minute routine where exercises are performed for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Below is a sample Tabata workout:
  1. 20 seconds jumping jacks + 10 seconds rest
  2. 20 seconds burpees + 10 seconds rest
  3. 20 seconds jump squats + 10 seconds rest
  4. 20 seconds mountain climbers + 10 seconds rest
Repeat this workout a few times through (resting after each set) until you reach 20 minutes.
02

Which Types of Exercises are Best?

There are three categories of activities that offer the most bang for your (longevity) buck: High-intensity interval training, strength and resistance training, and zone 2 training.

High-Intensity Interval Training

Also known as HIIT, these short, intense bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods. Much like OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide, HIIT is an incredibly effective way to reduce senescent (or damaged, dysfunctional) cells in the body. HIIT stimulates autophagy, a cellular cleanup process that helps prevent age-related diseases. HIIT also increases your heart rate and challenges your VO2 max, a key measure of cardiovascular fitness. By pushing these limits, HIIT can enhance your heart health and overall fitness. Improved VO2 max is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality, making HIIT a valuable tool for boosting long-term health and wellness. [05] One type of HIIT workout is called Tabata, a quick 20-minute routine where exercises are performed for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Below is a sample Tabata workout:
  1. 20 seconds jumping jacks + 10 seconds rest
  2. 20 seconds burpees + 10 seconds rest
  3. 20 seconds jump squats + 10 seconds rest
  4. 20 seconds mountain climbers + 10 seconds rest
Repeat this workout a few times through (resting after each set) until you reach 20 minutes.

Strength and Resistance Training

Muscle mass typically starts declining in your 30s with as much as 8% of lean muscle mass lost every decade after that. [06] Preventing muscle loss (or sarcopenia) helps prevent frailty as you age, reducing the risk of injuries and fractures from falls. It also decreases the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. [07] Worried about bulking up with weights? Don’t be – that's a common myth. [08] But if you are concerned or don’t have access to dumbbells, using resistance bands or your own body weight can be just as effective for strength training. These methods are great for slowing down muscle loss as you age. Regular strength training, no matter the method, is key for maintaining muscle strength and overall health and longevity. Some of our favorite exercises include:
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Rows

Strength and Resistance Training

Muscle mass typically starts declining in your 30s with as much as 8% of lean muscle mass lost every decade after that. [06] Preventing muscle loss (or sarcopenia) helps prevent frailty as you age, reducing the risk of injuries and fractures from falls. It also decreases the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. [07] Worried about bulking up with weights? Don’t be – that's a common myth. [08] But if you are concerned or don’t have access to dumbbells, using resistance bands or your own body weight can be just as effective for strength training. These methods are great for slowing down muscle loss as you age. Regular strength training, no matter the method, is key for maintaining muscle strength and overall health and longevity. Some of our favorite exercises include:
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Rows

Zone 2 Training

Fat loss, endurance, and better immune function are just a few of the benefits of training in Zone 2 training. Research also suggests that it decreases systemic inflammation, which can prevent everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. [09] But what exactly is Zone 2? Think of it as the level of activity you can do while still holding a normal conversation — like a brisk walk, a slow jog, or a steady bike ride. If you own a heart rate monitor, you’ll want to keep your heart rate at 60-70% of its maximum rate. Figure out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, a 50-year-old’s max heart rate would be 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At a 60% exertion level, a 50-year-old would want to maintain a 102-beat-per-minute average during your Zone 2 training.

Zone 2 Training

Fat loss, endurance, and better immune function are just a few of the benefits of training in Zone 2 training. Research also suggests that it decreases systemic inflammation, which can prevent everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. [09] But what exactly is Zone 2? Think of it as the level of activity you can do while still holding a normal conversation — like a brisk walk, a slow jog, or a steady bike ride. If you own a heart rate monitor, you’ll want to keep your heart rate at 60-70% of its maximum rate. Figure out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, a 50-year-old’s max heart rate would be 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At a 60% exertion level, a 50-year-old would want to maintain a 102-beat-per-minute average during your Zone 2 training.
03

Conclusion

Integrating daily exercises you enjoy is an invaluable investment in your long-term health and longevity. By incorporating HIIT, strength and resistance training, and Zone 2 training, you're not only enhancing your fitness but also protecting your brain and heart health, maintaining muscle mass, and combating age-related cellular decline.
03

Conclusion

Integrating daily exercises you enjoy is an invaluable investment in your long-term health and longevity. By incorporating HIIT, strength and resistance training, and Zone 2 training, you're not only enhancing your fitness but also protecting your brain and heart health, maintaining muscle mass, and combating age-related cellular decline.
Key Takeaways:
  • The benefits of regular exercise go beyond physical fitness and avoiding weight gain
  • Regular activity enhances brain function, protects the heart, and reduces stress, contributing to better overall health as you age
  • High-intensity interval training, strength and resistance training, and Zone 2 training are the best forms of exercise for longevity
  • Choose workouts you enjoy, including Tabata, walking, cycling, or bodyweight exercises
Key Takeaways:
  • The benefits of regular exercise go beyond physical fitness and avoiding weight gain
  • Regular activity enhances brain function, protects the heart, and reduces stress, contributing to better overall health as you age
  • High-intensity interval training, strength and resistance training, and Zone 2 training are the best forms of exercise for longevity
  • Choose workouts you enjoy, including Tabata, walking, cycling, or bodyweight exercises

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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