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Fitness for Longevity: The Relationship Between Exercise and Lifespan

© John Abdo

The "A" type individual can learn a lot from the "B" type, especially when we’re referring to longevity. In the short-run, some "A" types might have the advantage. But in the long run, the "B" type is more likely to live longer. It’s almost like the turtle and the hare.

So, I’m the first to admit that hard-core consistent training is damaging. The athlete who is constantly training beyond his or her metabolic capabilities is subject to a variety of ailments including tissue damage, hormonal imbalances, immune system dysfunction, and depression. Combined with the vast array of performance enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids and amphetamines, athletes are destroying their health while, at the same time, reaching for a Gold medal.

The athletes who live long productive lives after retiring from their sport are those who have paced their training in direct parallel with their metabolic capabilities, and who have either avoided drug use entirely or had wisely used (and not abused) synthetic ergogenic substances.

I believe that the average human, who, driven with an intense passion (maybe obsession) and discipline, transforms himself into a champion athlete may be the one who has peaked his/her energies during their athletic career when they are at a youthful age. In consulting athletes who are entering their post-career life, I prescribe a continuous routine of exercise that’s comprised of light to moderate intensities, and exercise activities with lots of variety. In this stage of an athletes life (post-sport), careful management to the needs of the body will restore and maintain health while (possibly) increasing lifespan.

Back to Science
In the November 1995 issue of Life Extension; Fitness for Longevity, Vol. 1, No. 3, I began explaining some of the benefits exercise provides to those who regularly engage in fitness activities. With a little redundancy; which is an important tool when learning exercise, I want to recap some of what I previously mentioned and introduce you to more of the remarkable psycho-physiological changes you can expect by involving yourself in a sensible fitness regimen.

A New Attitude
Depression, and other psychological disorders, are often the cause of low levels of self-confidence which often times stem from poor health, weakness, chronic illness, obesity, fatigue, pessimism, boredom, and loneliness. Exercise can help all of these conditions. In fact, I have witnessed plenty of cases in which exercise has transformed an introvert into a extrovert (in the good sense), and a complete manic depressive into a confidant competitive athlete.

I have often wondered what is the true fountain-of-youth elixir, and I am convinced now more than ever that it is a positive mental attitude. Those who live to a ripe old age are those who have lived life enjoying each day and are always looking forward to their tomorrow’s. Since being happy and enjoying life is only possible with good health, common sense, and another theory of mine, suggests that exercise should become a part of life with a formula of Exercise = Health = A Positive Attitude & A Zest for Life = A Long Productive Life.

Exercise Can Calm You Down
Many health professionals are now convinced that exercise conditions the heart and performs wonders for hypertension by lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. In actuality, the heart is a muscle which responds to exercise just like any other muscle in the body. In fact, many forms of exercise are designed to condition the heart. Exercise strengthens the heart by placing demands on the cardiovascular system during intense activity. As the body is starving for oxygen, the heart beats harder and faster during workouts to deliver oxygen-filled blood to the tissues. The more persistent one is in exercising consistently, the stronger their heart muscle develops.

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About The Author
JOHN ABDO is regarded world wide as an authority on life motivation, health, fitness and athletic conditioning. As a former Olympic trainer, John has trained numerous Olympic and World-Class athletes, including Bonnie Blair, multiple Gold Medal recipient. From 1985 to 1997, John Abdo produced and hosted his own weekly syndicated television series called Training & Nutrition 2000,......more
 
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