Just as a reminder to my readers, when I use the word sweat in my discussions about longevity and remaining youthful, I am using it as a colloquialism for exercise (and physical activity). Additionally, it begins with the letter “S” just like all the other components in the Power of 5 formula.
Each week I scan my reading material for articles about each of the elements in the Power of 5 and I am always amazed by how much is written about each. Exercise or increased physical activity are components in the lives of healthy people and those who have lived long lives.
Exercise and physical activities refer to voluntary movements that burn calories. Physical activities can refer to activities or movements at work, or recreational activities such as yard work, walking a dog, or parking further away in a parking lot. Exercise is a planned activity specifically structured with repetitive movements such as weight training, aerobics classes or cycling.
Exercise is generally considered important in maintaining cardiovascular endurance and bone and muscle strength, which can help in competing in sporting events. You might not know just how important it is as an antidepressant or reducing recurrence of cancer.
In some of my recent reading about regions in the world where there are high rates of centenarians, individuals are discovered to live in rugged environments with little or no public transportation. Their work requires vigorous physical activity, which they do until very late in their long lives.
What does one expect out of life for individuals who have maintained a lifestyle with frequent exercise or physical activity?
Improved cardiovascular fitness and endurance, improved bone and muscle strength, reduced risk for depression, reduced recurrence of cancer, and likely a better outlook on life and its challenges.
I urge you to think about whether you and your loved ones are getting enough physical activity and exercise. If not, consider how you might bring about change.
In my next blog, I will provide some clear-cut approaches that might help you break through whatever barriers have kept you from more activity.
To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein, MD