Telomere Science is evolving rapidly, and in my view, we are all part of the experiment. Now that we have our personal Telomere Length as a yardstick, and a growing body of data around what it means, we can all make lifestyle choices to influence our lifespan, and even more importantly, our healthspan.
I want to share some of what I’m doing to apply Telomere Science in my life, and to encourage you to join in and share your habits and experiments as well. (Please start by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!)
Today, I’ll start with exercise:
Of all the changes I’ve made as a result of what I’ve learned about telomeres and healthy aging, exercise has been the most dramatic.
I started doing interval exercises, along the lines described in The Immortality Edge. For me the ideal format has been hill repeats, running up the hills behind my house for 30 second increments, with 90 second pauses in-between. But others are getting the same results via sprinting, swimming, cycling and other methods.
I’ve also relied on Ready, Set Go Synergy Fitness by Phil Campbell for guidance, as he seems to be where some of The Immortality Edge approach comes from.
I’ve now got six months in, three days a week (plus two days a week of general cardio), and the difference has been incredible. Beyond getting leaner (and dropping two pant sizes!) its become addictive, and a part of my life that I can’t imagine being without.
My understanding of the basic theory is that we are wired genetically for these kind of intense bursts of activity. Certainly study after study shows that vigorous exercise is key to producing the kinds of positive health effects we are all seeking.
Beyond that, there is evidence that Intervals can help release one’s own human growth hormone and all manner of brain chemicals. I can attest that there is a great surge of well-being that comes from this workout. Hopefully more than just feeling glad that it’s over—(there is admittedly some intensity in the act of repeatedly running up a steep hill!)
I’ve never been a long distance runner or cyclist, but the great thing about Intervals is that they don’t last long—and one can endure most anything if its only 30 seconds! And again, for those on tight schedules (which is most of us these days) being able to derive the benefits of a much longer workout session in one intensive (but manageable) 30 minute period is a godsend.
How about you? Is exercise a key part of your life, and do you have a sense, or any data, on how it may be extending your life and health?