Performance 217

Exercise towards Longevity - Practical Tips

5 min read

You might have wondered at some point if you could live a long life and achieve your health goals without involving exercise - you can't.


The goal of this article is to shift the focus back to the basics and remove much of the noise that disrupts a deeper understanding of what exercise actually does and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine.


It's almost impossible to overstate the importance of physical activity in your journey toward a long and healthy life. While it is one of the key elements in longevity, it is also unreasonably sprawling, difficult to structure, and in many cases, neglected.


A few things that are important to understand before we proceed with the practical aspects:

It is NEVER too late to start exercising!


One can always be wise in hindsight, much like with savings, and question why they didn't start earlier. We cannot influence our past, but regardless of your age or functional status, physical activity and exercise are among the most important things you can do for your health.


Exercise for health is NOT the same as exercise for a personal record


With increasing age comes functional decline. Exercise with a focus on longevity and health emphasizes function, stability, and staying ahead of the curve. Here, the focus is NOT on lifting the heaviest or running the fastest or farthest.




The stronger you are, the healthier you will be


The correlation is crystal clear - the better your fitness, the longer you will live. End of story.


and finally


The best exercise is the exercise that happens


It is very easy to go out too hard, set ambitious goals that are difficult to follow, only to find yourself feeling incapable of changing your routine. Everyone can implement and maintain change. It's better to start too light than too heavy.

How much do you need to exercise to maintain good health?


There are a few general guidelines for healthy physical activity and sedentary behavior that you can read more about at the Public Health Agency of Sweden.


In short, it involves the following:

Physical activity which elevates heart rate at moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week.




Physical activity which elevates heart rate at high intensity for at least 75 minutes per week




An equivalent combination of moderate and high intensity




Moderate intensity - activity that increases heart rate and breathing, where it's possible to talk although somewhat challenging.


High intensity - activity that results in a significant increase in heart rate and breathing, where it's not possible to talk simultaneously.

Can you engage in any type of exercise?


Both yes and no. If you're someone who doesn't exercise at all, then it doesn't matter what gets you started for at least 3 hours per week. Anything is good. Something is always better than nothing.


If you already exercise to some extent but want to reach new hights and wonder if you can simply increase the frequency of your current activities, the answer probably leans more towards no.

6 things to consider before your workout


In our aim to cut through the noise and focus on the impact of exercise on our bodies, we've distilled all the information into 6 concrete things to always keep in mind when working out and planning your training.



1. Set a goal for your workout


If your goal is to become the world's best sprinter, you need to train like a sprinter. It doesn't matter how skilled you are at dribbling a ball. If the goal is to age well, we need to define what we want to be able to do when that day comes.


When setting goals for your workout, we recommend answering the following questions with a YES:

Is the goal reasonable?


Is the goal so clearly defined that you know when you have achieved it?


Can you set up sub-goals that gradually confirm that you are on track to achieving the overall goal?


Tips: It's easy to think that what you can easily do today is something you will be able to do effortlessly later in life.


But remember - It will never be as easy for you to do something as it is right now. The earlier you start preparing to age well, the longer you will be able to endure.

2. Establish a workout routine


The body is a biological routine machine. Just as we benefit from sticking to the circadian rhythm for sleep, the body adapts more easily to exercise when it becomes a regular routine. Moreover, the best exercise is the one that happens, and you increase the likelihood of consistency by creating a routine.


Things that can simplify the possibility of establishing a workout routine:

Find at least three times per week, each lasting 1 hour, that you know you can dedicate to exercise without a significant risk of other commitments interfering


Book these into your weekly calendar


Prioritize your exercise schedule

3. Create a plan for how you will exercise


Certainly, it's possible to achieve your fitness goals without making a plan. However, it becomes more left to chance whether you will achieve your goals or not.


Whether you want to exercise for longevity or short-term performance, the principle behind planning is often the same:

Define the number of times per week you intend to exercise


Define how many minutes per session you plan to exercise



At least 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise or

150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.


Define which exercises you plan to do at each given workout session



- Vary cardiovascular exercise with strength training

- Include a variety of cardiovascular and strength exercises

- Incorporate at least two strength training sessions per week


Plan the resistance week by week


By increasing the load, intensity, and/or number of repetitions in your training, your body will become stronger and more resilient.



Keep a record or training diary to track your workouts, adjust as needed, and gradually see how you progress over time.

Regardless of how you answer the above questions, there is an important takeaway when planning your schedule—train specifically.


Specific training is the most effective type of exercise, and why we recommend efficient training is simple—our time is limited.



4. Create a plan for recovery


Insufficient recovery is perhaps one of the most common causes of both reduced training effectiveness and increased risk of injury.

Plan rest days each week to ensure adequate recovery and avoid overtraining


Ensure a minimum of 48 hours of rest between high-intensity workouts targeting the same muscle group


Make sure to stay hydrated after your workout


Ensure you get enough sleep – one of the body's most effective tools for recovery

5. Create a plan for how you will eat


One of the most common mistakes made before exercise is not eating properly. The body needs energy to exercise effectively. When you're about to work out, it's not the time to be thinking about which foods to cut back on to stay in better shape in the long run. Effective training and fasting are contradictory.


When planning your meals, we recommend the following:



Before Exercise

Eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates


Your body needs energy to perform at its best.


Consume substantial meals at least 3-4 hours before the workout


Have small meals/snacks no later than 1-3 hours before the workout.

After Exercise

Eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates and protein


Your body has expended a lot of energy and stressed your muscles, which now need to recover.


Consume a meal within 2 hours after completing the workout


Stay adequately hydrated


Crucial for optimizing recovery, preventing dehydration, and getting the most out of your training.

6. Avoid injury


One of the most significant reasons for the lack of training effect, both in terms of performance and overall health, is getting injured.


While it's impossible to guarantee that injuries won't occur, there are several things you can do to significantly reduce the risk of injury:



Exerting stress on muscles and joints without warming up increases the risk of injury.


Diversify your training


Repeating the same exercises over and over has been shown to increase the risk of wear and tear and injuries compared to varying your exercises and implementing a diverse training program.


Train smart


The strongest connection between training and injury is the total volume of training. This means that intensity, frequency, and duration together constitute the most significant correlation. Reduce any of these, and your risk decreases.


Tip: Achieving the training effect in strength training involves fatiguing the muscles. Therefore, you can achieve the same effect by training a muscle group to exhaustion with more repetitions at a lower resistance, as with fewer repetitions at a higher resistance. The key difference is that the risk of injury is lower.


Prioritize recovery


The importance of proper rest and recovery between training sessions cannot be emphasized enough. Recovery prevents overtraining and, in the long run, injuries.




- Prioritize sleep

- Train a maximum of 4 times a week (exception may be considered if you are extremely knowledgeable to the nuances of training)

- Allow at least 48 hours between two intense training sessions for the same muscle group



Below, we have compiled some of the research that forms the basis for why we recommend what we recommend.



Exercise and Life Expectancy


In 2018, a study was published that ran from 1991 to 2014, collecting data from 122,000 patients.


Objective: To examine how fitness levels could be linked to the overall risk of death.


Method: Patients' fitness was assessed based on their ability to run on a treadmill for a specific duration at a specific speed.

Depending on their performance, they were categorized into the following 5 groups:

Low fitness - <25th percentile (i.e., the 25% of patients with the lowest fitness)


Below average - 25th to 49th percentile


Above average - 50th-74th percentile


High fitness - 75th-97.6th percentile


Elite - ≥97.7th percentile




Group with the lowest fitness ("low") had over a 400% increased risk of death (5 times higher risk) compared to those in the elite group.


"Low" compared to "above average" had a 175% higher risk of death


The risk of death between "low" and "below average" differed by 95%, almost doubling the risk of death


This means that going from completely no exercise to as little as 3 hours out of the week's 168 hours nearly halves the risk of death from lifestyle diseases!


The difference between being in the "above average" group versus "high" has the same impact on health as quitting smoking—a 40% increased risk of death per year


When comparing "high" to "elite," the risk of death differed by a significant 30%

In 2022, another study was published to examine the same relationship—how does fitness correlate with the risk of death. Fitness was assessed by evaluating performance on a treadmill. This study included 750,000 individuals aged 30-95 years, with over 90% being men. In total, approximately 8 million person-years were included as individuals were followed for many years, with a median duration of over 10 years.


Patients were divided into 6 groups or 5 quintiles:


Lowest fitness - <20%


Low fitness - 21st-40th percentile


Moderate fitness - 41st-60th percentile


Well-trained - 61st-80th percentile


Very well-trained - 81st-97th percentile


Extremely well-trained - ≥98th percentile





The results closely resembled the above-mentioned study and were sometimes nearly identical, such as:

The risk of death for each year of life was just over 300% higher between the "lowest" and "extreme" fitness groups. A 300% increase means that the risk is more than 4 times higher.


The difference between the "extremely well-trained" and "very well-trained" groups was 39%.





There seems to be no upper limit to how much one can train to benefit their health. The sky is the limit!


You can take significant control over the rate of your own decline in function as you age. A small difference becomes very significant when stretched out over a period of 10 years...


For more tips on how to change your lifestyle and biological age, click here.  





Mandsager K, Harb S, Cremer P, Phelan D, Nissen SE, Jaber W. Association of Cardiorespiratory Fitness With Long-term Mortality Among Adults Undergoing Exercise Treadmill Testing. JAMA Netw Open. 2018 Oct 5;1(6):e183605. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605. PMID: 30646252; PMCID: PMC6324439.


Kokkinos P, Faselis C, Samuel IBH, Pittaras A, Doumas M, Murphy R, Heimall MS, Sui X, Zhang J, Myers J. Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Mortality Risk Across the Spectra of Age, Race, and Sex. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Aug 9;80(6):598-609. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2022.05.031. PMID: 35926933. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35926933/


Stensvold D, Viken H, Steinshamn SL, Dalen H, Støylen A, Loennechen JP et al. Effect of exercise training for five years on all-cause mortality in older adults—the Generation 100 study: randomised controlled trial BMJ 2020; 371: m3485 doi:10.1136/bmj.m3485