“I’ve given it my all. I’m ready to leave my career behind and retire” was how a conversation started between me and a former colleague.
He told me about travel plans he and his wife were making, a potential volunteer opportunity, his desire to spend more time with friends and family, gardening, and how excited he was for his new grandson to arrive.
As a retirement transition coach, I believe remaining physically fit is the foundation for a fulfilling retirement and longevity. So, naturally, I asked him about his plans for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He was never one to work out, and dieting was not in his vocabulary. Sheepishly, he told me he hadn’t given it that much thought. Though he knew the importance of financial investing and was financially secure, investing in physical health was never a priority.
We discussed the consequences of this, especially if he wanted to remain active, work in his garden, travel, walk his daughter down the aisle, play on the floor with his grandchildren, and get up by himself! After several conversations and enlisting an accountability partner, he agreed to commit to a healthier diet and regular exercise.
Fast forward six years
I saw him recently at a social event. He’s been retired and loves it! He and his wife travel extensively and he is an active board member for a non-profit. He enjoys gardening and is looking forward to welcoming his fifth grandchild and playing on the floor with her! Though he now feels physically fit, he confided in me he feared growing older because aging often brings physical deterioration and less self-sufficiency.
I told him I had just read about a fascinating way to improve one’s lifespan and take it to the next level. It is through a concept called The Centenarian Decathlon, originated by Peter Attia, MD.
Dr. Attia is known for his medical practice and podcasts focusing on the science of longevity. His advice is simple: Train today to live your best life decades later. He recommends fitness should focus on three components: mobility, power, and strength.
The Centenarian Decathlon focuses on the physical aspect of aging and what one may aspire to do physically should he or she live to 100.
Each decathlon is unique, depending on the individual and, within reason, their aspirations for the years ahead. He advises working towards simple everyday activities to achieve mobility, stability, and strength.
For example, the ability to:
- Get off the floor under their own support
- Get down on the floor and playing with children
- Bend into a squat and lifting a 30-pound grandchild
- Get out of a pool without the help of a ladder
- Walk up and down three flights of stairs
- Lift a 25-pound suitcase into an overhead bin on an airplane
- Walk a 25-pound dog for 30 minutes or more every day
Since we are all different, Dr. Attia states, it is hard to say what everyone should do to achieve these goals. He recommends exercises that promote stability, strength, aerobic performance, and anaerobic output.
To learn more about what you can do to live a long and active life by achieving and maintaining personal mobility, power, and strength, check out https://peterattiamd.com/how-to-train-for-the-centenarian-decathlon.
It’s never too early or too late to start!