Most of us can agree that if we had the opportunity to add a few years to the end of our lives we would seize it. Why else would books preaching diets and hacks “proven” to increase the length of your life end up on bestseller lists year after year?
While these diets and hacks may work for a small percentage of the world’s population, OPEX Fitness Founder, James FitzGerald, believes that the majority of the population can achieve longevity through health and fitness. In this month’s knowledge series, a coaching resource available to all OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) students, James dives into the three areas that are key to increasing longevity.
According to Merriam-Webster, longevity is defined as a long duration of individual life. If we are truly looking to extend the duration of one’s life we must first look at what takes place within their life and what is needed to do those things for longer.
There are many reasons why some people live longer than others and genetics has a big part to play in this. But what can we control and what can we start doing today that will extend our time on this earth? To get to the answer of this question, James proposes that there are three areas that contribute to longevity.
The first area of longevity is mental acuity—clearness of thought. This area of longevity can be prolonged by consistently practicing a few basic lifestyle practices and a well-rounded nutrition plan. Learn how to create the best nutrition plan, a personalized one, here.
Next is physical performance. This is the ability to move the body in space. Typically this is the first area to decline. However, we can hold on to our physical performance for longer by moving every day. How should one move? James proposes that these seven patterns of movement are the keys to holding onto our physical performance for as long as possible.
The third area of longevity is purpose. You may have witnessed this phenomenon yourself. Someone retires when they are quite healthy, but a couple of years into retirement their body starts to break down. While there is no way to know for certain, this sudden onslaught of aging may be from a loss of purpose and a loss of the everyday drive to accomplish something.
James believes strongly that if one wants to live long they must have a sense of purpose in their life. Love health and fitness? Maybe you’re looking for your own sense of purpose? A career as a health and fitness coach may be right for you. Sign up for our free coaching course today and get a taste of what it’s like to change lives through fitness.
To create longevity one must first look at their life. Look back at how you or your client got to where they are now. What experiences, environment, relationships, food, etc., make up this person? This background will give insight into the person’s priorities and what longevity will mean to them.
From here think about the ideal scenario. What do you or the client want to be like and be capable of at 80 or 100 years old? Now start to reverse engineer. If someone wants to be able to play golf every other day, they will need postural endurance, great mental acuity, and mobility. Therefore this person should train their core, develop quality eating habits to support optimal blood sugar levels, and move their body in the seven primal patterns often.
With the end goal in mind, a plan can be built with actionable steps towards the ideal version of longevity.
What if they want to travel the world? To do this they will need an outstanding immune system. This person will benefit greatly from quality resistance training. What if their goal is to simply to live long? They will need to be able to fall, roll, and get up in a safe manner and their training should prepare them for this.
A useful tool for thinking about longevity is the three phases of life: growth, peak, and resist entropy. This is a valuable tool because if you understand which phase you or your client are in, you can prioritize what is needed for longevity.
Growth; 0-25, conception to prefrontal cortex development.
Peak; 25-50, peak physical and cognitive expression.
Resist Entropy; 50+, holding onto the three areas of longevity–mental acuity, physical performance, and purpose–for as long as possible.
How to Impact Lives and Influence Longevity
“Fountain of youth” trends come and go. Some have marginal effectiveness, but most offer little return on investment.. What remains is the tried and true method—consistent movement and a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, the vast majority of people are unaware of the benefits of these simple behaviors.
There is a need in the fitness industry right now for health and fitness coaches that are willing to educate the general population on how they can achieve their own personal longevity. See if this is a career that is right for you by signing up for our free coaching course, the Coach’s Toolkit.