Fitness Training for Longevity

Fitness Training for Longevity

We all know that working out regularly can help us to stay healthy and strong.  Regular physical activity can contribute positively to our health and wellbeing in many ways. But can fitness training help us live longer? If so, how do we exercise or train for longevity and what are the best exercises for longevity? Read on, as we explore all these and more including the meaning of fitness, types of fitness training, the importance of fitness training and the link between fitness training and longevity.

What is Fitness?

Fitness can be defined as the ability to carry out daily activities with strength and stamina.1 Research studies show that physical fitness and fitness-related activities are able to reduce the risk of illness and early death. Fitness is also associated with enhanced cognitive function and an improved quality of life overall.1 People with low fitness levels are at increased risk of coronary disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.1

Types of Fitness Training 

A balanced and well-rounded fitness training routine should consist of five elements – aerobic fitness, strength training, core exercises, balance training and flexibility and stretching.2

  • Aerobic fitness: aerobic training consists of exercises or any activity that increases breathing, heart rate and blood flow to the muscles.2 It is also known as cardio or endurance activity and is the core of most fitness training programs. Aerobic activities include walking, jogging, biking, swimming and dancing.2 

Aerobic fitness helps to boost oxygen levels in the blood by making us breathe faster and more deeply.2 The more intense the aerobic activity, the better the heart, lungs and blood vessels are able to carry oxygen throughout the body.2 It is recommended that healthy adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of both.2

  • Strength training: strength training is another key component of a fitness training program, involving activities aimed at increasing bone strength and muscle fitness.2 Strength training helps with weight management or weight loss as well as improving skills for everyday activities.2 Strength training can be done in a gym with resistance machines, free weights and other strength training tools. It can also be done at home using hand-held weights or homemade weights or low-cost resistance bands. Training with your own body weight is also included and consists of exercises such as pushups, pullups, situps and leg squats.2
  • Core exercises: the core muscles are the muscles in the abdomen, lower back and pelvis. These muscles help protect the back and support upper and lower body movements.2 Exercising to improve core strength is another key component of a fitness training routine. These exercises include bridges, planks, situps and fitness ball exercises.2
  • Balance training: these type of exercises help us to keep or improve our balance. Balance training helps to stabilize the core muscles and can also help prevent falls and broken bones. Balance training exercises include standing on one leg and tai chi.2

  • Flexibility and stretching: another important part of any fitness plan is stretching and flexibility exercises. These activities help improve the range of motion of the joints, increase flexibility, improve posture and reduce stress and tension.2 They also make it easier to carry out daily activities. Stretching can be done each time you exercise, or 2 to 3 times a week after warming up to keep flexible. Activities like yoga are also ideal for improving and maintaining flexibility.2

Importance of Fitness Training

Regular fitness training is important because it benefits our bodies in so many ways. Some of these benefits are as follows:

  • Increased strength and fitness: fitness training helps to increase muscle strength which makes it easier to carry out our daily activities.3
  • Bone health and muscle mass: fitness training, particularly strength training, helps to maintain or increase muscle mass, strength and power. In post-menopausal women with low bone mass, it helps improve bone density, structure and strength.3 As we get older, lean muscle mass decreases. Strength training helps to increase muscle mass and support bone, joint and muscle health as we age.3
  • Weight management: fitness training helps to boost weight loss by keeping our metabolism active. Studies show that people who combine aerobic exercise with strength training in their fitness program are able to reduce fat mass and improve lean muscle mass better.3
  • Chronic disease prevention: fitness training helps to improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease.3 
  • Boost energy levels and improve mood: research show that regular physical activity improves our mood by increasing endorphins.3 These are chemicals in the body that relieve pain, stress and improve our overall well-being.4

The Link between Fitness Training and Longevity

Recent studies show that people who regularly lift weights, not only increase their muscle strength and fitness levels, but add years to their lifespan.5 Strength has a positive association with future health, with many studies able to demonstrate that stronger men and women have a much lower risk of dying than people with less strength. According to 2022 research study review, muscle-strengthening activities reduce the risk of dying from any cause by 15%.5 Scientists have also linked resistance exercises to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease by 17%.5 They are also able to reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes by 12% and 17% respectively.5

Aerobic exercises also offer some of the same benefits as strength training, including a longer lifespan. A recent research study discovered that combining aerobic and strength exercises leads to a much lower risk of early death than either of them on their own.5 

Best Exercises for Longevity

Some of the best exercises for slowing aging and promoting longevity are as follows:
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT): this type of training involves switching between vigorous bouts of exercise and much slower ones.6 Studies show that this type of workout can slow down the aging process on a cellular level. HIIT can also increase aerobic fitness and quality of life.6 However, due to its intensity, HIIT can take a toll on the body. It is advisable to do two or three HIIT sessions a week. This can be complemented with two to three longer duration lower intensity exercise sessions. Such exercises include walking, riding a bicycle or swimming.7
  • Cardiovascular exercise & weight training: at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week is recommended to improve health and longevity. However, going beyond this minimum level provides additional health benefits. Some experts advise striving for up 300 minutes per week of aerobic exercise.7 Two to three weight training sessions a week is also important for longevity. Weight training helps to reduce the physical decline that comes with aging, including loss of strength, muscle mass, balance, coordination and functional ability.7 Exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses and rows are ideal because they engage the full range of motion of the joints and replicate activities of daily living.7

Serious mature male is having intense workout in gym


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  1. Paoli A. and Bianco A. (2015). What is fitness training? Definitions and implications : a systematic review article. Iran J Public Health. 2015 May; 44(5) : 602-614
  2. Mayo Clinic (2022). Fitness training: elements of a well-rounded routine. Healthy lifestyle fitness.
  3. Iliades C. (2021). 8 ways strength training boosts your health and fitness. Everyday Health.
  4. Cleveland Clinic (2022). Endorphins.,your%20sense%20of%20well%2Dbeing
  5. Schuler L. (2022). How strength training can help you live longer. WebMD Health News.
  6. Mellardo A. (2022). The best workout to slow aging and promote longevity, science reveals. ETNT Mind+Body.
  7. Forever Fit Science (2019). How to workout to promote longevity.

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