The only difference between a dead person and a living person is movement. Moving is what you should focus on: moving, rather than exercise. Movement can be simply standing more than you sit, or squatting, stretching, running, walking, swimming, sprinting, lifting, climbing or lying down, relaxing. The real enemy is sitting. Sitting is what we are designed to do occasionally. Sitting is what we do now, all day. Sitting is stagnation and that is the problem. Everyone will enjoy a different exercise and daily movement routine depending on their age, geography, season, ability and personal preference. Therefore, you must find movements that suit you but still push you.
Centenarians move every day
The Okinawa centenarians (the longest-lived and healthiest people on earth), do the three pillars of exercise daily: anaerobic, aerobic and flexibility. Walking outside, in greenery, under sunlight, for an hour, is the very best exercise. All the centenarians do this. You must start to stand or move more than you sit every day. Just 20 minutes in the gym three times a week is not even close to being enough. One hour daily is the ideal when you can. If you cannot move for an hour every day, then try to move as much as you can throughout your day.
Walking is the best long-term exercise
All the longest-lived people walk daily. Walk, walk and then when you cannot walk any more, walk some more. Climb the stairs instead of using the elevator. Climb two stairs at once instead of one. Walk every day or lose the ability to walk at all. A fit person of 70 is like an unfit person of 40. The life expectancy of someone in their 80s who walks daily is the same as someone in their 60s who doesn’t. Target hills and green surroundings. Walking is simply the best way of preserving both mental and physical health in old age. Healthy people who walk just ten kilometres a week have better memories, bigger brains and improved mental function.
Regular movement is as important as oxygen
- Walking for just three hours per week for 12 weeks causes so many new neurons to grow that it actually increases your brain size.1
- Exercise improves your sleep, which improves your liver function.2
- Waking early and exercising in the morning, on an empty stomach, is the best for burning fat.3
- This regular morning exercise helps heal bowel and digestive disease — supporting the all-important liver cleaning.4
Benefits for the whole family
We often get up on a Sunday morning and take the kids walking. We have discovered so many great walks, they are all there if you look – just walking the seven great volcanos here is incredible! All these great little nooks and crannies where they love to climb over huge rocks, wade through the bush, passing the archery ranges and running after sheep, find wild rabbits (so cute!), jumping stairs, finally getting to the top and looking out over Auckland. Fun for the entire family! Bonding, healthy, sunlight, nature, exercise, disease prevention, fitness improving; there is no down side. We have climbed to the top of all the Auckland volcanoes and they are amazing. The kids absolutely love it. As does Hadassah.
You can always make your walking harder by targeting hills, improving your walk times by increasing your walking speed, lifting your arms high as you walk, carrying weights on your arms, legs or chest, or listening to music that gets faster and faster and keeping up with it. There are walks everywhere I go around the world — go and find the local ones near you; meet the local people and breathe in the fresh air!
The 5 key health benefits of moving everyday
- Dramatically lowers your risk of all lifestyle disease be it stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancers, heart disease, asthma, mental decline, diabetes or obesity
- Wakes you up and starts the body cleansing and rejuvenating processes immediately
- Clears the head, lowers depression and stress risk, while calming the mind
- Raises your energy levels and beats conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome
- Improves heart health and healthy longevity
- Toni, N., et al., Nature Neuroscience, June 2007, 10(6):727–34. Also see, Pereira, A., et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2007, 104:5638–5643.
- Study by Dr Phyllis Zee, Northwestern University, Chicago, funded by the National Institute on Aging, 2010.
- Study by Van Proeyen, K., Szlufcik, K., Nielens, H., Pelgrim, K., Deldicque, L., Hesselink, M., van Veldhoven, P.P., Hespe, P., from the Research Centre for Exercise and Health, Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, University of Leuven, Belgium. The Journal of Physiology, 2010.
- Study by Dr Riadh Sadik, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2011.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.