You’d want your body to last long, so this is how you should train to maintain and maximize it—and eventually achieve longevity
Even if you’re not getting up there in years, it’s always a good goal to get your body to last long.
Longevity doesn’t just mean endurance and performance but also the benefit of staying well-maintained and injury-free. If you do a sport or simply train in different ways, you’d want to be able to do that for as long as you could without breaking down. Injuries are not only traumatic, but they’re also costly.
For people who work out in the gym, professional trainer Joe DeFranco outlines a few easy habits to incorporate in your strength training to help achieve longevity, plus a couple more we’ve added for good measure.
1. Never train through pain
“No pain, no gain” is an oft-repeated phrase in the fitness world, but that only applies to the soreness you feel after a taxing workout, not joint or muscle pain that could happen while you go through the motions.
If you try and gut it out, you’ll be putting yourself at a greater risk of injury and magnifying any existing conditions. If there is pain, rest or train something else. DeFranco says if an exercise hurts, find a better alternative—and it’s totally okay to make it easier for yourself.
2. Save the big lifts for later
If you’re a seasoned athlete or fitness buff, we don’t need to tell you the benefits of warm-ups. You’ve also likely heard the advice of starting workout sessions with big compound movements such as a squat or deadlift so you can take advantage of your high energy levels in the beginning.
For older people with achy parts, DeFranco suggests starting off with some easy lifts—typically accessory exercises—that can get you all the way warmed up and feeling better when it’s time to lift the heavier weights.
3. Don’t take heavy lifts to failure
Speaking of heavy compound lifts, DeFranco also suggests that you don’t take them to mechanical failure. While it’s also common wisdom to train to failure in order to maximize gains, doing so in highly technical and heavy exercises is extremely dangerous, for reasons you can probably imagine (all of them involve a heavy barbell over your body). Instead, he reiterates that you save failure training for lighter isolation exercises, where you have better control of the weight.
4. Fix your form and technique
No matter what weight you’re using, whether it’s light or heavy, the best way to protect your body is to perform the proper technique. Some of us tend to rush to heavier weights to boost our ego and think we get better pumps, but the truth is as long as we’re doing it right while appropriately challenging our muscles, we’ll be thoroughly worked out even with lighter weights.
5. Take recovery seriously
People often forget that recovery is also an important part of training. It’s often taken for granted because you want to scratch the itch of actually pumping iron or performing, so don’t forget to take it seriously. Sleep at least eight hours, drink a lot of water, eat as much as you should, and recover as much as you need to.
Remember that you’re not losing gains when you take time off—that’s when the gains actually come, and the more you give your body time to recover, the longer it will last.