5 exercises I'm doing to live to 100+ years old

Published 29 days ago • 6 min read

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Ever since I became a dad at 40 years old I’ve become obsessed about longevity.

I’ve done everything from reading books to getting biological age tests, and even studying the habits of the world’s oldest living people.

Through my research, I’ve found that longevity is as not only about what you put into your body it's about how you use it.

Certain exercises will expand both your lifespan and healthspan, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

So in today’s article, I want to share with you the 5 exercises I’m doing to (hopefully) live to 100+ years old.

Plus as a bonus, at the end of the article, I'm going to show you my weekly routine to hit all of these in a way that fits my lifestyle.

You ready? Let's jump in.

5 exercises I'm doing to live to 100+ years old

1 - Zone 2 cardio

VO2 Max is the maximum rate at which your body can consume oxygen during exercise, which is a great indicator of your fitness levels.

But here's the kicker: recent studies reveal that VO2 Max is also a strong predictor of longevity.

One of the foundational ways to build a high V02 max is to build a base of endurance using Zone 2 cardio.

Zone 2 cardio is a type of cardio that you can do for a long time without strain or heavy breathing. Ideally, you want to keep your heart rate in the 2nd zone using this chart:

It's recommended to get at least 180-200 minutes of zone 2 cardio every week.

My zone 2 training plan

  • I'm using what's called the MAF method for zone 2 cardio training. I'll be doing this type of cardio using my treadmill desk or hiking outside on trails for 30 minutes 5 days a week. Thankfully, this fits in well with my love for moderate-paced walking. You can check out how to do the MAF method here.

2 - High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Another great way of improving V02 max is through HIIT training.

HIIT workouts work your heart at maximum or near-maximum capacity. It's like heavy lifting for the heart.

The great thing about HIIT training is that you only have to do it once every 2 weeks to see results with once a week being optimal.

The bad thing about HIIT is that it's pretty damn hard. This is why it's not recommended to jump from being sedentary to running sprints. You want to work up to them.

My HIIT training plan:

  • Once a week, as I get out and do my walk/jogs I'm going to add random sprints in between aiming for 4 rounds of 1 minute on 1 minute off sprints. This means I'll run at 1 minute of high intensity followed by 1 minute of low intensity.

3 - Strength training for hypertrophy

If cardio is for length of life then strength training is for quality of life.

We lose 3–8% of muscle per decade after the age of 30 & this rate accelerates after the age of 60 if we don't do what's necessary to keep our muscle.

Resistance training is crucial to keeping ourselves functional as we age but this doesn't mean you have to look like a puffed-up bodybuilder.

Putting a focus on using progressive overload in the gym will go a long way to preventing muscle loss from happening.

I prefer to do a form of lifting called functional physique training, which is a blend of increasing muscle (aka. hypertrophy) while doing things to keep my body functional.

I'll also be performing them in strength circuits like we do in the Lean Body 90 to cut the time I spend in the gym.

My strength training plan is to get stronger in these movements:

  • Squat
  • Hinge (ex. deadlift)
  • Forward, backward, and lateral lunging
  • Horizontal pressing (ex. bench press)
  • Overhead pressing (ex. shoulder press)
  • Vertical pull (ex. pull-ups)
  • Horizontal pull (ex. back rows)

4 - Mobility training

As we age our joints get tighter and our ability to move decreases. This is made worse by the fact that our lives have become largely sedentary.

Mobility is about the ability of your joints to reach their full range of motion.

Yes, you can get flexible lifting weights using good form but in addition to that we need a form of flexibility training that can improve our movement capacity.

This is why mobility drills like the ones below go a long way to keeping our bodies free to move in any position we feel like:

My mobility training plan

  • I do a variety of mobility drills for 6 minutes before each workout and in between desk sessions daily. I've got a ton of these on social media but if you want a deeper dive you can check them out on the article over here or the 6 minute superhuman program.

5 - Plyometrics

As we get older, things slow down if we don't train them regularly. One of the worst ones is our ability to product power.

Loss of power affects things like speed, balance, and agility. It's like losing the "pep in your step".

One of the simpler ways to avoid this is to add some plyometric training to your exercise routine to keep your edge as you get older.

Doing plyometric training safely helps us maintain power as we age. Things like jump rope, sprinting, kettlebell swings, and even box jumps can help us improve our power output as we age.

Here's a little thread I did on how to improve power as we age:

My plyometric plan

  • I'm using jumping jacks and jump rope as part of my 6 minute warm up routine (see #4). I'm also going to slowly build up to doing box jumps once I get an adjustable plyo box for my home gym.

My Weekly Workout Routine

Monday - Lower body workout + zone 2 cardio at treadmill desk
Tuesday - Upper Body workout + zone 2 cardio treadmill desk
Wednesday - zone 2 cardio outside hiking + HIIT
Thursday - Lower Body + Zone 2 cardio treadmill desk
Friday or Saturday - Upper Body + zone 2 cardio outside or treadmill desk
Sunday - Optional

This routine is not set in stone. Depending on how my body feels I may switch out the HIIT to be later on in the week.

See you at 100

Will this guarantee that I’ll become a centenarian and get a chance to reach 100?

The short answer is no.

While these are important how long I'll live will be also dependent on how I eat, my body composition, relationships, mindset, and genetics.

Also, it’s one thing to do these and another to incorporate them into your lifestyle as things you actually like doing.

I prefer to live a fairly active life but done so in a way that fits my busy schedule (hence the treadmill desk).

So think of this as a template and remember the principles:

Get vigorous exercise, train with resistance, stretch, and look for ways to jump that fit with what you like to do.

That being said, it's time to jump on the treadmill and do some zone 2.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan

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  1. Strasser B, Burtscher M. Survival of the fittest: VO2max, a key predictor of longevity? Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2018 Mar 1;23(8):1505-1516. doi: 10.2741/4657. PMID: 29293447.
  2. Helgerud J, Høydal K, Wang E, Karlsen T, Berg P, Bjerkaas M, Simonsen T, Helgesen C, Hjorth N, Bach R, Hoff J. Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Apr;39(4):665-71. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180304570. PMID: 17414804.
  3. Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul;7(4):405-10. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2. PMID: 15192443; PMCID: PMC2804956.
  4. Radaelli R, Trajano GS, Freitas SR, Izquierdo M, Cadore EL, Pinto RS. Power Training Prescription in Older Individuals: Is It Safe and Effective to Promote Neuromuscular Functional Improvements? Sports Med. 2023 Mar;53(3):569-576. doi: 10.1007/s40279-022-01758-0. Epub 2022 Aug 29. PMID: 36036337.


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