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How to workout for longevity

May 8, 2022


We live in a time when working out is very popular and, as with everything else, we are influenced by a lot of information and trends. Perhaps we receive too many stimulations to get a clear idea of what is healthy in sports.


At this point we already know that working out regularly is very beneficial for our health but, how many days a week should you workout? At what intensity should you workout? What kind of exercises should you do? The first question is already answered in another post that you can access by clicking on the link, and in this article we will focus on the other two questions.


At what intensity should you workout?


The answer to this question may vary depending on your goal. However, when talking about health and longevity, moderate intensity workouts are the best choice. 


But, what is moderate intensity? When doing cardio, you could say that a moderate intensity is between 50% to about 70% of your maximum heart rate. However, for other activities such as lifting weights, it is not as easy to measure, that’s why the rating of perceived exertion was created.


The rating of perceived exertion, as measured by the Borg rating of perceived exertion scale, is a frequently used quantitative measure of perceived exertion during physical activity. In medicine this is used to document the patient's exertion during a test, and sports coaches use the scale to assess the intensity of training and competition.


It was created to measure any kind of physical activity effort, such as lift weights or running, and it consists on a 1 to 10 scale where 1 would be any activity that you can do without any physical effort, such as cooking, and 10 the maximum physical effort that you can achieve, such as running a sprint or lifting weights until you can’t lift anymore.


To make this abstract scale more easy to understand, lifting weights we can say that 10 would be when you can’t do more repetitions, 9 is when you could do 1 more, 8 is when you could do 2 more, and so on.


Ideally we would like to be between 7 and 8 in that scale unless we are doing HIIT training where our effort would be of 9 or 10. Do a progressive routine, start according to our physical condition and our age. Once your body gets used to the exercise and the effort it takes you to do it is lower, increase the weight or repetitions for example to keep your effort between 7 and 8. On the other hand, if it is too much effort, lower the weight or repetitions.


We should try not to reach our maximum recoverable volume (MRV) is the theoretical point where your muscle accumulates so much fatigue that your performance and results begin to suffer. But if you do, you would need to reduce your workout load, for example by lowering the weight or repetitions in the case of lifting weights, and realign your routine.


And of course, remember to warm-up at the beginning, and cool down at the end. Make sure at the warm-up there is some joint work to prepare the ligaments and tendons, and at the end stretch to normalize muscle tone and relax. This way we will avoid injuries.


What kind of exercises should you do?


When working out, not all the kinds of exercises do the same to your body. Doing yoga doesn’t do the same as running, and running doesn’t do the same as lifting weights. Here are 5 types of work out that you should be doing, because if you only focus on one of those you are going to unbalance your body and that would create you problems in the long run.


  • Muscle strength. Muscular strength is essential all your life, it is not about having big muscles, but for your body to be very strong proportionally to its weight. The more strength, the less sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) as we age. Think of muscular strength as essential to being independent, to be able to get up off the ground by yourself when you're 85. Also, training muscular strength provides an increase of testosterone and growth hormone that keeps us younger.

  • Anaerobic capacity. The anaerobic capacity in our body is of very short duration, therefore we train it in an explosive way, doing exercises that demand 100% of our effort for a very short period of time (if we work at 100%, it is usually in cycles of less than one minute as happens in HIIT and Tabata). There are several types of anaerobic capacity training but all are short duration.

  • Resistance (endurance/stamina). Resistance training is a long-term, low-intensity training. Many studies have shown that long high intensity training increases the stiffness of the arterial walls and if movements aren’t made correctly (out of alignment) we begin to have joint wear (typical of ultra-marathoners). My advice for this type of training is that once every 2 weeks or month, you do a long time and low intensity training (trekking or similar).

  • Mobility and alignment. Soft tissue mobility and joint alignment are the foundations of body symmetry. Think of working on these two areas as something beneficial to prevent future arthrosis, joint pain, increase your body's mobility ratio, improve posture and also look better.

  • Flexibility. However, if we train on flexibility without first correcting imbalances in alignment and mobility, we will aggravate the imbalances in the body in the long term, so make sure you work on your alignment and mobility first.

For more information, talk to one of our Fitness Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn app or Mavyn Fitness page.