What’s the secret to a healthy long life?

June 23, 2023

At Longevity we dont believe that ‘normal ageing is normal’. In many cases (not all) it's down to the way we choose to live our life. In fact a recent study led by John Hopkins University found that people who adopted sensible lifestyle choices reduced their chances of dying by a staggering 80%. 

The ‘longevity space’ is currently the subject of billions of dollars of scientific research and who knows in the future we may be able to take a pill that resets our DNA as we enter adulthood, that prevents the decline in muscle mass as we age and even promotes the growth of healthy cells. All of this might be possible in years to come and we will deal with it in future communications but for now let's focus on the things we can control and explore some of the key lifestyle factors that can contribute to a long and healthy life. 

Is living a long life a good thing?

At the extreme end of the continuum, according to research from the University of Georgia, we may soon live to the age of 141! So far the oldest person who ever lived (as far as we know) was a French lady called Jean Louise Calment who celebrated her 122nd birthday. 

Most of us only want to live a long life if we are healthy and can make the most of our time. Research shows that in the UK we are living longer than we did 30 years ago, but we are living longer in poor health.

However, recent breakthroughs in medical science combined with awareness about the impact of lifestyle choices means that for many of us a healthy, long life is now an achievable goal.

What are some of the latest scientific developments?

BioAge Labs, a biotechnology company, has just completed trials on the compound BGE-105. They found that BGE-105 significantly prevented muscle ageing in healthy 65-year-olds. Loss of muscle strength and muscle mass are associated with ageing, so this is another important development.

Eli Lilly have just introduced Donanemab, a new drug which has been found to significantly slow cognitive decline in those with early-stage Alzheimer’s. Researchers found that those who received the drug could manage their finances, drive, converse and generally live their lives as they did before. 

Next let's take a brief look at how resistance training is proven to promote longevity.

What are the benefits of resistance training and strength training?

Resistance training involves pushing and pulling against a resistance like weights, resistance bands or even your own body weight. 

Strength training is a type of resistance training which focuses specifically on lifting increasingly heavy weights.

Here are some of the benefits of resistance training:

Resistance training helps prevent diseases

For many years it has been thought that aerobic exercise is the best way to stay healthy and live longer. But now resistance training has been recognised as being equally important to longevity.

Studies combining data from over 1.5 million people have confirmed that muscle strengthening exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lung cancer by 20%.

Daniel J. McDonough from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health says: “Running, swimming, playing football and other aerobic exercise do a lot for the cardiovascular system — our heart and blood vessels — but they don’t do much for overall muscle mass or strength.”

As we age our muscle mass is reduced, resistance training helps us to build the muscles that enable us to stay active. This lowers our risk of developing diseases that result from an inactive lifestyle.

Strength training may also decrease the risk of dementia. Michael Valenzuela from the University of New South found that strength training protected the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Resistance training slows ageing

Throughout our lives our cells recycle, and they eliminate their own damaged or unnecessary components. This process is called autophagy. There’s a growing body of evidence to show that autophagy decreases with age.

However, as we get older, we can boost autophagy. Scientists have found that exercise corresponds to increased autophagy and ‘healthy ageing’.

Researchers combined the results of 26 studies to discover the link between autophagy and exercise. They looked at two autophagy markers: microtubule-associated proteins 1A/1B light chain 3B (LC3-II) and sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1).

They concluded that resistance training was probably the best exercise to increase autophagy. However, further studies are needed as this research is purely based on healthy, middle-aged subjects in Western countries.

Is aerobic exercise still important for longevity?

According to Angelique Brellenthin, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, “We consistently found that the greatest health benefits, whether it was reduced risk of death or chronic diseases or improvement in risk factors like blood pressure or cholesterol, were seen among people who performed both types of exercise (strength training and aerobic exercise).

Combining resistance training with aerobic exercise is the best way to live longer. That’s why at Longevity Lounge we incorporate both types of exercise into our training programmes. We have also found that including a variety of different exercises is motivating and enjoyable for our clients.

How much exercise do you need to live a healthy, long life?

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which analysed 150,000 60-70 year olds found that those who combined aerobic exercise with muscle-strengthening exercises once or twice a week had the lowest risk of mortality.

The NHS advises adults over the age of 65 to be active every day. Over the course of the week exercise should include activities that improve stamina, strength, balance and flexibility.

Live well with Longevity

Our dedicated fitness and wellbeing coaches at Longevity Lounge are committed to helping you to achieve your health and wellness goals. We draw on information from BioAge testing to create a longevity programme that’s tailored exactly to you. 

To start your journey to a happier, healthier you please call us today on 03333 39 69 79