3 daily movements to help you stay in shape
Courtesy of Corporal Eric A. Ramirez of the United States Marine Corps
The older we get, the busier we often are, especially in our late 40s.
This is when aging begins to strip our bodies of the muscle that protects us in old age and the demands of work and family responsibilities eat away at our time. United States Marine Corps Colonel Joseph Galvin, 49, faces this dilemma every day. As a judge advocate, he often works out of the Camp Lejeune base in North Carolina from around 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and he’s married with two energetic sons, so even his downtime is active.
Galvin has created a 14-hour-a-week regimen that keeps him in top shape: he’s captain of the All-Marine Triathlon Team and scored perfect on the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for 25 consecutive years. . His most recent results: 24 restless pull-ups, 167 crunches in two minutes, and a three-mile run in 17 minutes and six seconds. The good news is that new research reveals that you don’t have to train as hard as Galvin’s to reap the life-extending benefits of strength work and aerobic training. But there is still
much to learn from the colonel.
Test yourself often
Taking an annual strength and cardio test like the PFT allows you to track your fitness. If, like Galvin, you train in a group with people half your age, even better, you’ll have more motivation.
The FTP includes options. (Maximum/minimum scoring ranges for men are noted.)
1. Max with good form: pull-ups (23/3) or push-ups (87/20)
2. Two minutes of crunches (115/40) or a plank (three minutes, 45 seconds/one minute, 10 seconds)
3. A three-mile run (≤18 minutes/33 minutes) or a 5,000-meter row (≤18 minutes/26 minutes)
Reread it, sometimes
Galvin competes in both Olympic-length triathlons and half-ironmans and runs, swims, or bikes about an hour a day, starting at 4:45 a.m. He alternates regular sessions with high-intensity intervals and does a longer session on weekends. The benefits of cardio for longevity are well documented: Cooper Institute research has established that a man’s fitness in his 40s, measured by his mile run time, is a strong predictor of heart health. long-term. Aim for less than eight minutes. Other research brings unexpected information. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed more than 55,000 adults over a 15-year period and found that compared to non-runners, people who runner had a 45% reduced risk of death from heart attack or stroke, as well as a risk reduced by 30% death from any other cause.
What’s surprising, says Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University who studies longevity, is that data has shown that you actually get a lot of health benefits if you don’t. run that for about 50 minutes. one week. It’s a good idea to use some of this time to do high-intensity work. In a Mayo Clinic study, researchers found that high-intensity aerobic intervals are particularly effective in helping your body slow down aging. Intervals boost your mitochondrial function, which declines with age, and invigorate your muscle cells. In the study, people did four four-minute maximum-intensity laps on a spin bike, with three minutes of active recovery.
Do at least 90 minutes of cardio per week and vary the intensity of sessions where you can talk while you exercise at breathless intervals.
Fortify your armor
Galvin typically does ten minutes of core before his cardio every day and a 30-minute strength circuit after. Historically, researchers thought cardio was more valuable than strength training for health, but now the two are seen as equally important and complementary, Phillips says. “The list of illnesses for which being stronger is a preventative measure includes metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, anxiety and depression,” he says. A measure of strength associated with longer life is the number of push-ups you can do without stopping. A Open JAMA Network One study found that people who could do more than 40 were 96% less likely to have one cardiovascular disease event in ten years than those who couldn’t do ten. “Push-ups test your strength against your weight and are therefore a good indicator of your fitness,” says study co-author Justin Yang, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University.
Two 30- to 45-minute strength-training sessions a week are enough to extend lifespan, Phillips says. But for the greatest benefit, do three or four. Doing regular abdominal work is essential, as a strong core improves your stability. One of Galvin’s favorite basic circuits is the plank, crunches, lying leg raises, side crunches, and Russian twist; do one minute each for two rounds.
This story first appears in the April 2022 issue of Men’s health.
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