45 & Thrive: A Guide to Robust Longevity
(Reprinted as published in the Kingstonist, January 24, 2019)
Welcome to 45 & Thrive, a series of discussions about health, fitness and nutrition for active
mature adults. Through this column I hope to convey helpful, thought provoking, and common sense information for those of us around ‘middle age’ who want to optimize wellness to be prepared for long, active lives. For many, the new year is a time for reflection upon many aspects of our lives, and one of these areas is often our physical fitness as part of our overall wellbeing. So, perhaps we can take this opportunity together to both reflect upon and take steps toward improving our fitness, health and wellbeing early in 2019 and beyond.
In our youth through to early adulthood, our bodies tend to be forgiving of less-than-perfect
lifestyle choices. Some of us are able to eat without obvious repercussion. We heal relatively
quickly. Minor aches and pains stay ‘minor.’ Recovery from intense physical exercise and
resistance to disease tends to be strong while we are young, but may begin to change as we reach mid-life. I believe we can take meaningful steps to minimize the effects of aging and maintain an active lifestyle after 40. Through the 45 & Thrive series, I hope to reveal some focussed, common sense best practices for active wellness during the second half of life. This need not be a period of steady decline, and in fact can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding stages of life.
Throughout my columns I use the term ‘robust longevity’ in reference to the central outcome of optimal wellness practices. What I mean by this is simply engaging in the best practices for a strong, healthy and vigorous long life. Many young people hit the gym and maintain strict diets mainly to improve appearance. They want to look fit and attractive. I get it; I did it. While a healthy, fit body is often a happy side effect of the tips, suggestions and principles of 45 & Thrive, your appearance is not my primary focus here. Rather, it is to allow and encourage you to fully participate in the best years of your life. These fundamentals should make it easy to say ‘Yes’ to spur of the moment physical activities, and should lay the foundation for one to plan and look forward with confidence to future endeavours with vigour and optimism. Whether you desire to keep up with activity levels of adult children, or grandchildren, functional training as part of a mindful lifestyle can be key to meeting these goals.
The 45 & Thrive title for this column refers not just to the mid-life age group, but also to the
time commitment per effective training session; 30-45 minutes. Physical training and fitness
need not be all-consuming. We all know people who train every day, or even more than once a day. We all know people who spend hours at the gym, on a bike, circuit training, or running. While all forms of physical activity and many training programs bring positive results, I believe it is preferable to ‘train to live’ rather than to ‘live to train.’ I believe that physical training should not be our only activity; it should not monopolize our time, nor take us away from family, friends or other meaningful pursuits. We should also be walking as much as possible, playing team or individual sports, working in our gardens, and actively taking on projects around the home. The brief, focused time we spend in the gym should be designed to elevate these other activities, not replace them. Balance in our active pursuits between efficient training and active leisure time fosters balance in our overall wellness.
Some of the topics to be explored in future articles include, but aren’t limited to: The principle of Minimum Effective Dose (MED) and how to apply this to training and nutrition; How an understanding of human evolution can serve as a foundation for optimal health; How to ease into new eating habits which complement your training and improve health; Dietary habits of centenarians across the globe; The principles of functional strength training applied in an efficient, intense and meaningful program; The ‘X’ Factor in helping to determine healthy body composition, and more. Where possible I will include links, references and guides to source material for those interested in further resources.
The information in this series comes from acknowledged leaders in fitness, exercise
prescription, nutrition and wellness. I consider myself a curator of excellence and aim to share these findings and insights with you in a way that makes sense and perhaps leads you to find some success for yourself.
Thank you for your interest today and welcome to this opportunity to explore, discuss and
cultivate robust longevity. Feedback and constructive comments are always welcome.
Michael Patterson, M.Ed.
Lift long and Prosper