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Dear Dr. Bell, in your opinion, what is the #1 activity a middle-aged individual should get into if his goal is general health (I’d define health as having super cardio, strong and stable core, and the ability to execute pretty much any day-to-day task without much risk of injury).
To achieve optimum health and fitness you must achieve an optimal level in each component of fitness.
The 12 IFPA Components of Fitness are: (1) Strength, (2) Speed, (3) Power, (4) Anaerobic Endurance, (5) Aerobic Endurance, (6) Agility, (7) Balance, (8) Coordination, (9) Flexibly, (10) Body Composition, (11) Symmetry, (12) Biochemical Balance.
Anti-Aging Protocols developed to achieve a substantial level of health and functionality focus on 6 Primary Components: (1) Strength, (2) Anaerobic Endurance (3) Aerobic Endurance, (4) Flexibility, (5) Body Composition, (6) Biochemical Balance.
This is not to say that these 6 are more important, but if these 6 are performed correctly, they will positively impact the remaining 6.
If I had to choose only one activity, it would be a variation of Strength Training (3 times a week). I would recommend using the Gradual Progressive Overload (GPO) Principle to get well conditioned enough for High Intensity Training (H.I.T). You could do a Warm-Up of light Aerobic Training (daily), then some Core, Balance and Functional Training, working every muscle group through its fully functional Range of Motion. Followed by H.I.T. Training then a Cool Down of Cardio Exercise and then Flexibility Training (daily).
Done correctly with proper Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type, you can maintain high level of functionality in all 12 Components of Fitness.
The Anti-Aging Exercise Prescription I described above will go a long way to maintaining your health, functionality, vitality and virility.
Dr. Jim Bell