Stem cell therapy, Hindu squats, aerial yoga, intermittent exercise, vitamins and micronutrients - all the sexy stuff gets promoted ad nauseum.
But THIS key to longevity wasn’t developed in a lab and it can’t be injected or taken as a pill.
I am talking about leg strength, mi amor!
Leg strength (not muscle mass in your legs, but the strength) is associated with a variety of positive outcomes in old age, most importantly:
2) Brain health (improved memory, cognition, etc)
There is a great deal of under-reported research on the topic. For now, I will just mention two sources:
"Leg strength and fat mass best predict physical function in older adults." From PubMed.
"Researchers found that leg strength was a better predictor of brain health than any other lifestyle factor." From WebMD.
Now, before you start doing knee bends or squats or go to the gym, remember that it is good to talk to your health provider first.
And remember that muscle strength is not simply a function of muscle size but of muscle relaxation and length.
El Señor Feldenkrais said it quite well back in the 1970's:
"A muscle only works from the position of being long to becoming short. But, if it is completely short already, there is no more power, and something additional to it needs to contract. This just increases tension and that is all. It does not bring out any strength nor any power." - Moshe Feldenkrais
Does that make sense?
When your muscles are long and relaxed, they have more space to contract and are thus stronger.
The best way that I know to increase muscle length and strength in your legs is via my Feldenkrais-based standing and walking sessions. Do you know that session of ease, comfort and spaciousness that you get from doing Feldenkrais? A huge part of that is your nervous system letting go of compulsive tension and your muscles becoming longer and thus stronger.
If you want some of that, you can get it here:
Full disclosure: I don't only do Feldenkrais, oh no. I do bodyweight squats every day (including Hindu squats), intermittent high-intensity workouts, and I walk with my dogs 5 to 7 times per day. All of these activities become easier for me because of doing Feldenkrais sessions. And they just might do the same for you. 🙂