I've been planning a book on "youngevity" for a while now (tentative release date early 2010) and later this year, my first ever 2 DVD set ("The 7 Pillars of Youngevity") will be released, a program that also contains mp3's and written material. I'll be telling you more about that in coming weeks.
My point, however, is that aging well is a passion of mine, more so since I turned 60 (a mere two years ago this November!) And in preparing "The 7 Pillars of Youngevity" I've been combing the published research on long-lived societies. I'm not talking about people just living longer, in assisted living and hooked up to tubes. I'm talking about cultures where people are out milking cows at 4:30 in the morning in their 90's.
I want to know everything I can find out about these folks. I'll bet you do too!
What I've been finding out so far is very interesting, and not always what you might expect. But here's one thing you can take to the bank: It's absolutely possible to delay the loss of physical abilities into your 90's and beyond.
In fact, out here in southern California where I live, there's a legendary workout program that only about 10 people are able to do. The guy who runs it lives in Malibu, and meets daily with a small group of devotees. Their warm-up is known for making people throw up. Then they go out on mountain bikes and do the biking equivalent of double black diamond ski trails.
The guy who leads the whole shebang is 75.
OK, I can't do that workout and probably neither can you. But you can do a brisk daily walk.
Every single society I've read about that lives long and well does daily exercise. "With every increasing decade, exercise becomes more important in terms of quality of life, independence and having a full life", says Miriam Nelson, PhD, director of the Center for Physical Activities and Nutrition at Tufts University.
See, here's the thing: as you age, your body slowly and gradually becomes less efficient at consuming oxygen. Technically, your VO2 Max (Maximum Volume of Oxygen) drops. But vigorous walking for an hour a day can boost it back up by up to 25%.
When you raise your VO2 Max your heart pumps better and your muscles can receive more oxygen. Exercise- even walking- also has an "insulin-like" effect, " One bout of exercise increases fat burning rate" creating a demand by the exercising muscles for sugar, which they grab out of the bloodstream, increasing "insulin sensitivity" and reducing the risk of diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
Now I've long been a believer in higher intensity training like circuit training, interval training or the kind of Burst Training you can perform so effectively with the Xiser. And I think strength training is a must if you're going to be fit and firm.
But fact is, walking still does amazing things for your heart, your brain and the length and quality of your life.
While brisk walking might not turn you into a 20 year old, even 1/2 hour a day can increase your brain size, reduce your risk of death and strengthen your heart and lungs.
Which reminds me, it's time to take the dogs for a walk!