• Strength Training
• Aerobic exercise (cardio)
• Proper Nutrition
You can’t out train poor nutrition, you cannot improve cardiovascular fitness/heart health without aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling, etc) and you cannot have strong, toned muscles without lifting some weights. Put these together in the right ratios and you will see amazing results. Interestingly enough, a recent trip to the doctor got me thinking about another triangle analogy. One that could make sure I am healthy enough to enjoy the fruits of my labor and play with my grandkids in the years to come. It’s called the Triangle of Longevity.
I love going to the doctor. My primary care physician and I have a phenomenal relationship and communicate extremely well. It does help being in the fitness industry because most of the time I have a pretty good hunch as to what is going on with me before I see him so we discuss my health matters on a slightly higher level. Nevertheless as I approach 40, my health goals have begun to switch from big biceps and tight abs to healthy cholesterol levels and normal blood sugar. With the internet, social media, and large-scale public awareness campaigns, we also know to get screened for other conditions that need to be caught early for better outcomes, i.e. October = Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This got me thinking about how we can tweak the triangle to increase our odds of living a long, healthy and
The Longevity Triangle includes these components:
• Regular Screening/Awareness
The goal is to create an optimal environment for a healthy body and to nip anything sinister in the bud by catching it early through screenings. Paying attention to your body and having an awareness of what is “normal” for you is very important . Will this guarantee you live to be 100? Sorry, we can’t back that up because no matter how much you exercise, eat healthy or see your doctor we can’t control if you fail to look both ways and get hit by a bus, as well as some genetic conditions and other problems that are unpredictable. The point of making the Longevity Triangle part of your life is to reduce your risk of the most common and most preventable things that can take us down as we move into our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
Here is how you implement the triangle:
1. Exercise: A proper balance of strength training and aerobic exercise will help keep weight down, muscles strong, and key indicators low (blood sugar, blood pressure, total cholesterol). ACSM guidelines suggest to strength train 2-3 days per week and aerobic exercise 3-5 days per week. In all, you are looking at 45 minutes per session to create a base level of conditioning that
will keep you healthy and that can be split into three 10-12 minute sessions for those REALLY pressed for time.
2. Nutrition: At IWC, we practice a concept called the 85% rule which means we ask our clients to make the healthiest food choices 85% of the time. It isn’t a diet but a lifestyle. It does take planning but it is 100 times more flexible than dieting. Make sure you are loading up on fruits/veggies, low fat dairy, whole grains and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods loaded with
preservatives, trans fats and sugar. Some researchers have begun to theorize that it isn’t the fat in food that causes heart blockage but the types of fat found in baked goods and processed foods that cause inflammation in our arteries which cause heart disease.
3. Annual Physicals/Awareness: Even I had my eyes opened after my 1st
sugar was higher than I liked and with a family history of diabetes, it prompted me to alter both my exercise and nutrition habits. If you aren’t getting checked on a regular basis not only do you not know your key indicators (blood pressure, blood sugar, total cholesterol) but you are
probably ignoring weird symptoms (an odd spot on your skin, a thickness in your breast, odd bathroom experiences, etc.). Many of us ignore these symptoms out of fear but let me tell you what is really scary; ignoring something long enough that by the time you see a doctor, it’s too
late. Unfortunately, this is something I have seen happen many times. Getting screened can be stressful (especially if there is a family history) but knowing you have caught something early can mean the difference between a long life or an early demise.
Just remember, that some action is better than no action regarding your exercise and nutrition habits. To go from no exercise and a poor diet to a gym rat and super clean eating is not realistic. Using baby steps toward building these into your life is the best way to ensure success. And in terms of annual
screenings or getting to the doctor when you have something strange going on with your body? Remember that knowledge is power. Even if the doctor comes back and says “cancer” I would rather hear him say “we caught it early” vs. “I am sorry but there is nothing we can do at this point.”
We realize pulling this all together can be tricky. If you need help building a strategy and implementation plan please give us a call at 314-807-8634. Also, we would love to hear how YOU implement the Longevity Triangle in the comments section below.
Thanks my friends and stay well!