The Secret to Longevity
by Lauryn Lax
The “Golden Years” (between the ages of 65 and 80) are generally defined as: “The span of time between retirement and age-related health decline—characterized by physical, emotional, and cognitive limitations.”
According to modern day cultural theories about aging: Knee replacements, dentures, memory loss and adult diapers are inevitable.
However, CrossFit Central’s Golden Hour athletes are rewriting “The Future of Aging story” as we all know it.
It’s Golden Hour Time
It’s 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning as seven athletes, average age 64-years-young, meet again for another day of fun at the gym.
Retired Salesman and Business Owner
The crew gathers at Burnet Road every Tuesday and Thursday like clockwork to see what Coach Jess Powers has in store for their anti-aging medicine.
Part 1: The Warm-up
Part 1 of their golden hour starts off with the warmup: 3 minutes of easy aerobic work (biking, running or rowing) followed by dynamic stretches and a smattering of balance and agility prep—single leg balance holds, ladder drills, and even a mini obstacle course in the gym.
The magnificent seven hup-to it— loosening up so they can let the real work begin.
“It is easy to not move when you are older” Bill tells me. “But I need discipline and a good environment to keep this body moving because I ain’t done living.”
As the final ladder drill is complete, the athletes swig some water and meet at the white board to talk strength training with coach Jess.
Part 2: Strength
Today’s part 2—strength circuit:
12 Ring Rows
30 seconds Bent Hollow Hold
These 7 athletes move with precision, grace and a heavy emphasis on balance and proper form—not loading barbells unnecessarily with excessive weight and watching out for wobbly knees.
Fifteen minutes later, as the final strength set wraps up, it’s on to the last piece of the puzzle: A low impact met-con—the “heart pumper” that keeps all CrossFitter’s coming back for more.
Part 3: Conditioning
3 Rounds or 15 Min AMRAP
10 Wall Balls
Farmers Carry 100m
Despite some huffing and puffing, at the end of his workout, Bill reminds us: “Once you stop moving, you die.”
And he couldn’t be further from the truth—at least when it comes to the greatest “longevity” hack of all—community.
Community = The Secret to Longevity
Research shows that community and strong relationships are the essential ingredients to good health and long life.
The Blue Zones are a perfect example of this—the five regions in the world where people live the longest (many to age 100), report the best quality of life and are the healthiest, including:
The Italian island of Sardinia
Loma Linda, California
Costa Rica's isolated Nicoya Peninsula
Ikaria, an isolated Greek island
Researchers have found that the people in these five regions share 9 distinct characteristics that set them apart from any other city in the world—something they call the “Power 9” characteristics.
The leading shared quality? Connection.
In fact, three of the nine “Power 9” qualities has to do with relational connections themselves.
The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors. For instance, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. And the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda are perseverant volunteers—a commitment researchers say also directly correlates with their longevity.
In short: loneliness kills.
Coach Jess Powers couldn’t agree more. Relationships and friendships are essential.
“I was told it is hard to meet people once you retire. You no longer have a place to be at that involves being around people. Having a group class at the gym is one way to stay engaged, encouraged, and meet new people,” Jess said.
Coach Jess also says she’s benefited from her Golden Hour athletes just as much as they have benefited from her class, “They inspire me so much. They inspire me to keep pushing the limits of what society thinks a 60 year old person should be able to do,” she said.
“They force me know to think outside the box and not look at age as anything but just a number. There are no limits to what they can do and it is amazing!”
Come one, come all. If you, a 50+ friend, colleague or loved one could benefit from a little dose of fitness with a big punch of health and longevity, then Golden Hour is for you.
10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at CrossFit Central Burnet Road—be there or be square.
Contact us for more information or to get started.