You’ve made it well into retirement. You have all the time in the world to do what you please. The only problem? Age is claiming you. Walking now requires conscious effort, and a wheelchair is just down the line.
What use is living to old age without self-sufficiency?
This entire process could have been significantly delayed by improving your healthspan (the quality of your final years).
Instead of accepting the inevitability of physical deterioration, you can take a stand. Enjoy more of your time as a wise sage. It all starts today.
Dr. Peter Attia first described his unusual training goal in a 2019 podcast. He coined his training style the “Centenarian Olympics”. Peter’s reverse-engineered fitness regime prioritizes the long-term. Below I’ll discuss my top simple Centenarian Olympics (CO) workout type and specific exercises that I plan to train for decades.
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Centenarian Olympics Training (COT) is a minimal time investment for great payoff.
Peter Attia describes the idea in one of his Ask Me Anything podcast episodes here:
He wants to excel at every day movements like:
- Getting off the floor.
- Climbing out of a pool.
- Lifting kids off the ground.
- Carrying groceries up and down flights of stairs.
- Helping fellow passengers lift their carry-ons into the overhead bin.
To keep the body and mind young and supple, my long-term fitness routine includes three types of unique movements:
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Nailing Your Mindset
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To stick with training when the novelty wears off, you’ll need a rock-solid reason to train for the Centenarian Olympics.
- Maybe it’s to be fully capable throughout your grandkids’ childhoods.
- Or to be the cool grandpa busting out one-arm pushups—Grandpa Urban’s top party trick.
- Or to simply live self-sufficient.
Whatever your reason, strengthen it.
Centenarian Olympics Exercises for Mobility
Mobility isn’t flexibility. Nor is it stretching. Mobility is the ability to apply force throughout a wide range of motion. Virtually all desk workers should spend time working on mobility.
It’s like “functional strength”. Train it with unique range-of-motion exercises:
- Bear crawls
- Crab walks
- Duck walks
- Deep squats
- Ankle slides
- Climbing stairs
Metrics I’ll use to evaluate mobility:
- Ability to sit and stand without using my hands
- Ability to perform a full squat
- Ability to walk on a 2×4
While it goes hand-in-hand with the other core components of fitness, I find it most important. What good is muscle if it’s only used to lift and drop weights?
A few minutes per day works wonders.
Centenarian Olympics Exercises for Power
Explosive movements are exactly as the name implies — quick. They’re traditionally the domain of powerlifters. But power training benefits everyone:
- Improves insulin sensitivity (reducing blood sugar fluctuations so that you store less fat)
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Encourages neural growth
Exercises to train power:
- Jumping from one leg to another
- Jumping on top of ledges (or boxes)
- Clap pushups
- Sled or car pushes
Metrics I’ll use to evaluate power:
- Ability to perform a clap pushup
- Ability to skip
- Ability to push car when broken down (ambitious at age 100+)
Centenarian Olympics Exercises for Strength
In my top longevity biomarkers article, strength ranks high. Few metrics correlate as well with old age. Meaning that the stronger you are, the greater likelihood you’ll live a (long) quality life.
After age 65, lower body strength is estimated to drop 1-2% per year. With some deliberate planning and training, you can continue building strength until your final years.
Exercises to train strength:
- Lifting heavy objects (rocks, groceries, couches)
- Bodyweight exercise performed slowly
- Typical weight training lifts
Metrics I’ll use to evaluate strength:
- Sprint max speed and 40-yard-dash time
- Ability to perform 20 pushups slowly
- Ability to perform 5 pull-ups
How to Train for the Centenarian Olympics
The idea of the Centenarian Olympics is simple: start training today to set you up to live your best life decades later.
More ambitious training are welcome. But CO training is the minimum fitness you can get away with when life gets tough. For a long life, your fitness program should have at least three components:
You can knock out all three types of training in little time.
My top exercises to train for the Centenarian Olympics are:
- Tire or car pushes
- Farmers walks
- Kettlebell swings
- Box jumps
- Tight rope walk
- Military press
- Stair climbs
I know what I’m working on. And I’ll update this post as my plan changes. Otherwise, see you in 2094 🙂.