What physical activity is best for healthy longevity? The answer to this popular question can be found in all of the exercises and movements you enjoy and can incorporate into your daily life up to your hundredth birthday and beyond. Whether it’s through walking, swimming, cycling or other healthy activities, keeping your body moving throughout your life is extremely important as you age.
In addition to those activities, we recommend incorporating movements and exercises that challenge your core strength, durability and flexibility, as well as muscles that are often missed in common exercises.
For these performance exercises below, try three to five rounds of 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off:
- Lateral bear crawls with a band. Put a band around your wrists or ankles (or both!), and make sure to keep your back straight and core engaged. Hover your knees above ground, and try to move one hand and foot together for this movement.
- Monster walks with a band. To make this movement harder, place the band around your ankles. To make it easier, place the band above your knees. For this movement, bend your knees, engage the core and keep your body straight as you step laterally — do not teapot to one side.
- Low plank with leg lift. For this movement, make sure to keep the core engaged. Lift your leg, only to the point of glute engagement — do not hyperextend your leg and back.
- Side plank with rotation. For more of a challenge, stack your legs. To make this movement easier, stagger them for more stability. Move slowly into rotation by bringing your hand underneath your body and then back above your head.
- Swimmers with a pillow under the pelvis to prevent lumbar hyperextension (this is to help prevent compression on the lower back and lumbar spine). For this movement, alternate lifting your right arm and left leg, then switch.
For these recovery exercises below, follow the guidelines as stated. As with any other new routine, we recommend checking with your healthcare provider if you have any health concerns or conditions before beginning.
- Plank to downward-facing dog to lunge with a twist. Hold each position for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Child’s pose. Separate knees, place bottom on your heels and reach forward for a nice stretch. Feel free to reach to one side, then to the other side to get more of a side-body stretch. Do 3 sets for 30 seconds each.
- Lacrosse ball hamstring self-trigger release. Place the ball on a tight area of the hamstrings and, while in a seated position, extend and flex your knee 10x. Work through the hamstrings to release all tight areas.
- Lacrosse ball piriformis self-trigger release. Place the ball in the center of your glute, leaning slightly on it. Flex and extend your hip 10x adding a little internal and external rotation to work through the glutes and rotators.
- Contrast showers. This is such an easy life hack to help boost your immune system, promote muscle recovery, combat depression and boost energy! Start with warm/hot water for 3 to 5 minutes, turn to cold water for 1 minute, repeat the cycle and end on cold water. This method increases lymphocyte and monocyte white blood cells and boosts the immune system. This also stimulates the brain’s “blue spot” which is the body’s main source of noradrenaline, which is a neurotransmitter and stress hormone chemical used to combat anxiety, mood disorders and depression. In addition to the act of vasoconstricting and vasodilating, our vessels flush our bodies of toxins and increase blood flow to tissues, naturally helping rebuild broken-down muscles from workouts. There are many other benefits as well!
@generatorathletelab and @dr_jesst founder and contributor (Doctor of physical therapy, owner, founder, and developer of #theprotocol)
Models: Coach and private/semi-private trainer at Generator Athlete Lab, @megankovach and head coach and trainer at Generator Athlete Lab @ty_epic_reagan