Strength training, endurance activity, yoga, or even a specific sport. What type of activity everyone should incorporate into their routine to improve longevity? What are the best exercises to live longer? That is what Jonathan Bennion decided to find out.
Jonathan Bennion is the co-founder, director of education and anatomist of the Institute of Human Anatomy. Besides being an education campus at Utah University, the YouTube channel has a massive following of more than 4 million subscribers.
Bennion studies human cadavers to exemplify ways to improve people’s life. In a video, he discussed the best exercises to live longer. Check it out.
Best Exercises to Live Longer
According to Bennion, the best exercises to live longer are the ones that work your heart to maximum or close to maximum capacity. That is because how efficiently and effectively you get into your muscles is a huge influence on the fitness of a person and, subsequently, longevity.
Now, increasing the strength of the heart and improving the amount of blood that it can pump can technically occur with almost any form of exercise. As an analogy to understand the best exercises to live longer, Bennion says that even though walking every day would strengthen your heart, you would only be challenging around 60% of your heart, but you can improve longevity by working 90 or even 100 per cent of your heart, just like if you want to build more muscle, you should work close to the capacity of that muscle and not simply lift light weights.
The best exercises to live longer are the ones that increase the intensity and capacity of your heart. Bennion says the best exercises to live longer are high-intensity intervals or HIIT.
These types of exercises are incredibly demanding that last between 2-6 minutes at full force.
The best part is that is not a specific exercise that is one of the best exercises to live longer, but rather make that exercise a HIIT. It can be on a treadmill, cycling, rowing, running up a hill, or swimming. Just make sure you are going as fast or hard as you can for a short amount of time – in Bennion’s opinion, 2 minutes is the minimum he recommends.
Whatever exercise you choose, take the same amount of time to rest. For example, if you did hill sprints for 2 minutes, take 2 minutes of rest before you repeat the exercise again. You don’t necessarily need to be faster on each round you do, but you make sure you have nothing left on the tank at the end of that period. Do between 4-6 rounds of that HIIT exercise.
“The goal here is to get to max heart rate or close to touching max heart rate,” Bennion says. The max heart rate is, in simple mathematics, 220 minus your age.
Ideally, you should do this type of training once a week, perhaps twice a week, but no need to do more than that if you are looking to improve your longevity.
Bennion goes on to explain how much the heart changes when you do HIIT exercises often for a long period of time.
3 Examples of HIIT Exercises to Elevate Your Heart Rate
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a workout technique that involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercises and periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. HIIT is effective for elevating the heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness, and burning calories in a short amount of time. Here are three examples of HIIT exercises to elevate your heart rate:
- Sprint Intervals:
- Find a flat, open area like a track or a clear path.
- Sprint as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds.
- Follow the sprint with a 30-40 second walking or slow jogging recovery period.
- Repeat the cycle for 8-10 rounds.
- Start by standing upright.
- Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground.
- Kick your feet back, landing in a plank position.
- Perform a push-up.
- Jump your feet back to the squat position.
- Explode up into a jump, reaching your arms overhead.
- Land softly and immediately go into the next repetition.
- Perform as many burpees as you can in 20-30 seconds, followed by a 20-30 second rest.
- Repeat for 8-10 rounds.
- Mountain Climbers:
- Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Quickly alternate bringing your knees toward your chest, as if you’re running in place while in a plank.
- Keep your core engaged and your back flat.
- Perform mountain climbers at a high pace for 20-30 seconds.
- Rest for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat for 8-10 rounds.
Remember that the key to effective HIIT training is to push yourself during the high-intensity intervals while allowing for sufficient recovery during the rest periods. The intensity of your workouts and the duration of the intervals and rests can be adjusted based on your fitness level and goals. It’s important to warm up before starting a HIIT session and to cool down afterward to prevent injury and promote recovery.
There are many other ways to incorporate HIIT to your training, but the examples above should give you a good opportunity to max out your heart rate healthily. If you’re new to HIIT or have any health concerns, consider consulting a fitness professional before incorporating HIIT exercises into your routine.
And those are the best exercises to live longer according to Bennion – exercises that elevate your heart rate. If you are interested in his full explanation and further arguments on other ways to improve your VO2 max such as steady-state cardio, click on the video below.