A Simple System for Staying Healthy and Active to the Very End
"We just want to keep moving for decades to come, not get type 2 diabetes, and then not die of pneumonia after falling and breaking a hip at 85."
It's About Quality and Longevity of Life
The Great Upside-Down Movement Pyramid
The Base: Sit Less
"As the amount of time spent sitting every day goes above seven to eight hours, your risk of death increases, regardless of how much exercise you do."
The Next Bit: Walk More
"[I]t probably doesn’t matter too much what you do. Lift weights. Swing kettlebells. Do yoga. Do bodyweight movements in the park. Climb a tree. Give your kids a piggyback."
Then: Move Stuff
Then: Move Really Quickly
"Improving your cardiovascular fitness... is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of death and chronic disease."
Finally: Move for a Long Period of Time
Summary: How to Use the Pyramid
- Make movement a habit rather than a chore.
- If you’re not managing to do the level above, don’t do the level below.
- As you use more levels of the pyramid, it becomes increasingly unstable. This means you need more time to recover - eat, sleep, rest.
- If you can’t recover better, don’t add more.
- Don’t obsess over the details. Do what comes naturally and what you enjoy.
Combinations: Though they haven’t often been studied in a systematic way, things like fight training (boxing, martial arts, etc.) and CrossFit will often cover everything, from strength and interval training to endurance. However, if the coach at your CrossFit box has you doing soul-crushing thirty-minute metcons (metabolic conditioning workouts) every day, consider introducing him or her to the pyramid.
Disclaimer: If you have some kind of chronic disease, you should discuss various exercise regimens with your doctor. Movement can be better than medications and medical treatments, with fewer potential side effects. Some of the references here are a good place to start, including.21
Take a look at these related articles:
- In 2015: Move Better Than You Ever Have Before
- Walking: The Most Underrated Movement of the 21st Century
- Use Play to Become Fitter and Stronger for Longer
- What's New on Breaking Muscle Today
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