It’s Never too Late to Get Strong and Fit
Several weeks ago I wrote an article where I discussed how there’s a great deal of evidence linking grip strength to overall health and length of life.
The truth of the matter is it’s not really about how strong your grip is that’s the driving factor for life extension.
Grip strength is really just a clue about how strong you are as a whole. Meaning, that if you can hold onto something tightly for a while (a dead hang is what I was talking about in the article), then it likely means other large muscle groups are finely tuned and strong as well.
Which is why I wanted to give you an article that focuses on what you can do to increase strength in your body.
From your largest muscle groups (like your quad and hamstrings and glutes) to the most important muscle in your body (your heart).
As I’ve said numerous times, you don’t have to devote your life and every waking hour to becoming a fitness champion to experience the benefits these exercises will provide.
A few hours a week are more than enough.
On that note though, if you can’t spare 3-6 hours a week for exercise, then really, health isn’t a priority for you. That may sound harsh, but it’s a simple fact.
America has become one of the sickest nations on earth, dealing with chronic disease like never before because people have decided pleasure and hedonism are necessary to live and have shunned the truth about what makes us healthy,
We spend trillions upon trillions yearly to rescue people from the jaws of death, only for them to do nothing to fix the behaviors that placed them on the brink.
If I sound harsh in saying this, I don’t apologize.
Health As It Ought to Be is not complicated!
And I commit to every patient I have, and every reader who consumes these articles, to make sure that people are armed with truths that will liberate them and allow them to live the life God intended them to live.
Will we still get sick?
Will we still die?
Yes. Though I believe we can live on with our creator, but that’s another conversation altogether.
When we take hold of the truth, rather than living a miserable existence absent of “fun,” we will get to enjoy all that life has to offer. Time with family, youthful exuberance, energy galore, pain-free movement, the ability to eat poorly on occasion and not damage our future.
And that’s why I hope readers take the subject matter of today’s email to heart and use it to their benefit.
How to Exercise For a Longer Life
I do need to say this before I get into the content of this article.
It’s always important to consult with your physician about starting an exercise regimen.
If I’m your doctor already, I think you understand how much I care about exercise and that you engage in exercise routines within the limits of any health protocols we’ve discussed.
That being said, anyone can start at the lowest tier of exercise and work their way up.
Dr. Peter Attia, one of the preeminent MDs focused on longevity said this of implementing an exercise program focused on cardiovascular health
He has said that exercise is the best drug for longevity. Bar none.
He has said that if you maintain “elite cardiorespiratory fitness” it can lead to a 5x reduction in all-cause mortality. And as he points out, there are ZERO drugs that will do that for us.
Just having high strength vs low strength gives you a 3x reduction in all-cause mortality.
That’s how powerful exercise is.
And again, you don’t have to go overboard with this.
He has said that you get most of the reduction in all-cause mortality just by going from unfit to average fit.
If you’d like to hear him talk about this you can listen to a podcast with him on Joe Rogan’s show which is hosted on Spotify just like our “Healthy Discourse” podcast. The link for this podcast is here and if you listen from roughly 1:45 to 2:10 you can hear him talk about his research and findings.
Now that I’ve established the basis for getting stronger and improving cardiovascular health, let’s talk about how you can make this happen.
I’ll start with the basics, for those who are either new or want to build from the ground up again
1: Begin with just your body weight:
The fact is resistance training, which leads to strength, does not require weights, and machines.
Yes, you can most assuredly gain strength from these apparatuses, but just the weight of your body is enough to develop strength that will extend your life.
You should plan to spend 15-20 minutes a day doing basic movements and plan on completing 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of these movements to begin to build a base of strength.
The exercises you can start with are both simple and proven to help you build muscle mass.
For instance, you can do the following in 1 day. I’ve linked all of these to videos of people doing these movements. Don’t mind the fact that they’re muscular and you may not be, if anything, that shows these movements are effective at building strength.
2- Advance to Weights and Bands:
Once you have a base of strength then you can add additional resistance in the form of weights and bands.
I will acknowledge that using your body weight is more than sufficient for strength building. There are athletes in the calisthenics world (think, gymnastics) who have built incredible physiques without using a single weight or band
However, weights and bands allow you to concentrate additional stress on your muscles which leads to greater strength gains.
Additionally, you can use bands to help support your strength-training efforts.
Many of you wanted to know how to train for a better dead hang, and one of the ways you could do that is by practicing the dead hang with a band to support some of your weight.
I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds here about what exercise you should do, and would instead, encourage you to understand that simple exercise with weights and bands can help facilitate strength gains.
Below I’ve listed 10 exercises that you can use to further boost strength gains (that will also help build grip strength). Another note on this, if you’re not excited about the prospect of purchasing equipment, you can use Youtube to find many simple and cost-effective DIY weight training “hacks” that will help you build strength without going broke.
Dumbbell Floor Press
Banded Seated Row
Band Pull Aparts
3: Train Your Heart Too
Strength is an important factor in longevity, but, training your heart will also yield significant benefits.
In fact, some of the exercises you do above can be chained together to form a cardio routine.
Then there are other exercises to incorporate.
A common exercise regimen is 2-3 days a week of strength training and 2-3 days of cardio.
Referring back to my Zone 2 article, you will find it refreshing to know that whatever kind of cardio you do, it doesn’t take all-out exertion to get a solid return on time invested.
Zone 2 exercise can be simple things like a brisk walk, jogging, swimming, water aerobics, biking, etc.
You’ll be pleased to know that many activities, like raking, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, and general manual labor “count” as cardio. Generally, manual labor is good for the heart, and provided you do it regularly, you can count it as exercise.
I know many of my patients work hard at home, and they should rest assured that in so doing, they’re helping.