Lets take a look at how we can improve, manage, reduce or eliminate the major culprits that often prevent us from living a longer and more fruitful life.
Maintaining a good level of cardiovascular fitness, means that you have a statistically better chance of living longer and are less likely to fall prey to diseases associated with inactivity. This requires exercising in a way that you take your body to a point where you need more oxygen than it is able to take in. The medium term result of this is to increase the amount of blood that your heart pumps out with each beat, improve the amount of oxygen carried by the blood and enhance your muscles ability to utilise this oxygen.
Reduce your stomach diameter
This is a simple one, if you have a stomach diameter larger than 102cm (40 inches) as a male or 88cm (35 inches) as a female you are at risk of contracting type 2 diabetes. There are about 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes, 24,000 of those in the UK with diabetes die early and approximately 6,000 have amputations. 80% are believed to be preventable.
Don’t let your strength fade away
It’s key to avoid “habitual inactivity resulting in a downward spiral in physiologic functions”. Your body is perfectly adaptive, the less you do, the less you become able to do and then the less you do and before you know it you are caught in that downward spiral.
Keep your range of motion
This is a further reinforcement of the downward spiral, the less you take your muscles through their full functional range on a daily basis the more likely that range is to reduce.
Exercise your chimp
On those days when your primitive chimp brain has been fully activated, work has been stressful, someone cut you up on the way home from work and that puddle you couldn’t avoid was deeper than you thought, give yourself the opportunity to vent. Use exercise to burn through that unused adrenalin and give your chimp the chance to get everything off its chest.
Don’t be afraid to show off what you have
If you have worked to get in shape don’t be afraid to wear smart clothes that show off your shape, receiving a compliment goes a long way to reducing your stress and settling your chimp brain. Learn more – “The Chimp Paradox” is a good read.
Keep an eye on your vitals
Keep an eye on your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. Regular heath checks with your GP should cover these for you, just make sure that you don’t go too long between checks.
Keep your aches, pains and past injuries in check
As we move through life we are inevitably going to pick up aches, pains and past injuries, be ready to manage them and don’t let them stop you. Our biggest department at BBG is our rehab team whose role is to help clients reach their physical goals while assisting them with their aches, pains and overcoming past injuries.
Don’t be pig headed about medication
If you have a good level of fitness, your stomach diameter is below the risk level and you exercise on a regular basis yet you still have a risk factor higher than its safe to be, listen to your doctor.
Don’t fall prey to salt, fat and sugar
Keep in mind that many foods are engineered to make you want to keep eating them, the large food companies spend millions on designing foods that appeal to you from a taste, sound, smell, touch and colour point of view and they ensure the big bad three, ‘salt, fat and sugar’ and used to the maximum to activate the pleasure responses in your brain. Michael Moss’s book “Salt, sugar, fat, how the giants hooked us” is an excellent read.
As is often the case I could have made this article twice as long as it is here, we could delve into the benefits of sleep and other types of exercise. Let’s save that for another article, I have tried to review the main culprits reduce our bodies longevity, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us – “Live long and prosper”.
• Jason Crow is the Managing Director and founder of the Better Body Group. He has been involved in the health and fitness industry for more than 25 years and has over 20,000 hours of experience as a personal trainer on both sides of the Atlantic. To find out more about the Better Body Group please visit www.betterbodygroup.co.uk.