- Longevity’s importance cannot be understated
- Medical vs Holistic
- The vicious fitness industry cycle
- Direction and motivation
- How can you implement longevity
The decisions we make today influence our tomorrow.
If someone were to sell you a miracle pill that meant you would still be healthy, physically and mentally, by the age of 80 — what would that be worth to you? 100k, 1mil, 10mil? Would it be a redemption of your unhealthy discrepancies, or would it be a fortification of your well balanced and healthy life as it is today?
You hear longevity and you immediately think of the over 60’s age category. How do we remain healthy as we age? — But it’s naive to think we’re not ageing every day and for the majority of people we think back to 10 years ago and see a much healthier version of themselves. Most of the science surrounding longevity is tracking the ageing body to manage diseases such as Alzheimer's, osteoarthritis and diabetes . And while this is important, we do far less to ensure its prevention.
At 25, most guys my age aren’t thinking about what happens when they get to 60 and beyond, but this is something I consider nearly every day. Show me someone who is in their 80’s who hasn’t once exclaimed that life is short. I know that the actions I take today will invariably influence my tomorrow and I want a healthy mind and body to take me into it.
Most 25-year-olds would read this and think I’m a right fun sponge. But I’ll have the last laugh at the summit of the worlds most beautiful mountains, aged 80, while they are sat in retirements homes wishing they still had the energy to make food themselves. And this is a goal that I have while enjoying the present and nearer future, it is only seen as strange because not many people set such goals, perhaps through fear or concern of what it would take.
Ask ‘why’ 5 times to any fitness motive and you’ll end up with an answer that falls on longevity. The fundamental message of promoting longevity is a key health consideration is extended healthspan. Don’t age your body intentionally.
The Medical World
As science improves the ability to determine what is causing ageing and how we prevent it we look to research at the cellular level as the prime example of the breakthroughs we’re making. Eventually, these breakthroughs will make it down the pipeline into the consumer-available products (that actually work). But for now, we exist in a limbo of inability to dramatically slow ageing while continuing to worsen our outcomes as we age away from the abilities of medicine.
Longevity Brought To The Fore Due To COVID
Like many health components, longevity has become more important as a result of COVID. It was the elderly (especially those with existing health conditions) that became seriously ill and died as a result of the disease. We don’t know when a disaster like this will occur again and it has been made very clear to us now that ageing with our health is a matter of life or death. A lot of people will be quietly scared of being unhealthy and those who are ageing into ‘the second part of life’ will be acutely aware of ageing in a healthier way. There is a somewhat underserved market here as generations that age with greater accessibility and understanding of technology can adopt health solutions that will impact their longevity.
Fitness and Weight Loss
The ‘summer body’ is the very antithesis of longevity. We are motivated to be healthier in the summer to look good and impress others. The cycle often occurs of a cyclical approach to health management in the build-up to holidays and the decline in winter. The fitness industry certainly plays on the cycles that the market goes through in order to facilitate their business growth. The famous January rush or uptick in members in the build-up to summer is predictable revenue that is hard to pass up. The industry, therefore, has little incentive to make a significant change in attitudes towards longevity, despite having a member for 12 months, not 4 months being much more profitable long term seeming obvious. I'm intentionally missing the complexities that go into this because that point really does remain pretty stark. If more people had a better relationship with their health journey that wasn’t seasonal then we’d have stronger and bigger communities with a doorway into the elusive 80% of the non-gym going market. We shouldn’t have to trick or force people to take responsibility for their health journey, the approach should be more authentic and purposeful towards their desire to maintain a healthy body and mind long term.
Direction and Motivation
The immediacy of results in the fitness industry and near term thinking doesn't just apply to fitness. It is increasingly a part of our lives across almost every component as we look for ease of use and comfort around every corner. There is somewhat an aversion to the realities of longevity in our lives through the avoidance of discipline, consistency and challenge. With greater purpose in life, we begin to seek these values in order to facilitate our purpose and fulfilment. Defining a clear purpose can be a major catalyst to seeing health through the longevity perspective.
When we look across the key principles of health & wellness we are looking for answers to problems that trouble us in the present. Consumers pay for the problems of today to be solved with whatever remedy is best suited. This mindset creates a negative feedback loop of problem solving which needs to be broken to create a more sustainable and optimistic view of health.
As a coach this can be a hard message to get across. The desire is shorter term development which is often where the sell sits. Coaching for longevity is about implementing a mindset of long term progression to achieve near term goals. Focus more on planting the seeds than harvesting the crop. As enjoyment of planting the seeds enhances, habits will begin to form. These habits are reinforced by experiences that are exciting and compelling. Experiences that teach valuable lessons which are not easily forgotten.
You will learn very little by doing the same class or workout 6 weeks in a row. You will more likely fall away from your health journey if you are not compelled to enjoy the versatility and novelty of the moments that come with it.
Longevity is about the excitement of engaging with experiences that define your health journey everyday. It reimagines what health development could be and obtains the much desired control in a situation the vast majority of people have lost control of.
With an eye on the future we will always make the most of the present.
Implementing Health Longevity
Long term customers are the best customers. But they have to be earned. It is your responsibility to make each member take responsibility for their health. Your task is to keep them on their health journey by ensuring that problems solving is not the mindset they enter into.
Your experiences — be that your classes, workouts, programmes, challenges or other activity — need to incorporate diversity, excitement and above all empowerment. Empowering your members teaches them the potential of working on their health everyday. This can be through meditation, resistance training, breathing, or even belief challenging dialogue. Any component of health can be shaped to encourage its value long term and thus make the experience itself valuable beyond the hour they spend with you.
Your alternative is customers that are constantly managing problems in their health that have a greater magnitude only through perception. Customers prone to failure cannot be counted on for long term revenue. They are also far more likely to be self-conscious given their fragility. For the sake of your community development you want to less of the individuals that are constantly thinking inward.
Community will always play a major role in the health of your members. Create a culture within your brand that longevity is a vital component of health development. These efforts in discussing the mindset of long term thinking add the necessary reassurance to each individual that they are always in the control of their future. With a community of members looking long term, a more organic community dynamic will form as members think outwardly to support each others health journey.
Host a class which get’s everyone to talk about their health goals set 10 years from now and why. Get your members out of their own head seeking the immediacy of results. If you can get them to write these down.
If you don’t have the resources to operate this as a class utilise the question boxes on Instagram or another social platform. Curtate the answers and post them to your group for discussion
Lead by example — make sure you and your coaches lead with vulnerability. These conversations are important for the shared accountability and build relationships within your community.
I don’t have a definitive answer to the title question. I’ll tell you now that its importance equals or surmounts to any other health principle. But I cannot deny the immediacy of the world we live in and the complex psychological and philosophical factors that fall into the realm of longevity.
Gyms and active spaces have the potential to become leaders in delivering longevity as a core component of health. The benefits to your business will be evident in the success of your members.