Professional sports are a big business, and that means people are willing to invest a lot into maximizing the health and optimizing the performance of athletes. Longevity is also a growing concern, with many research companies trying to help people live well for longer. It seems the two should be natural bedfellows, able to learn from each other (https://longevity.technology/news/how-sports-medicine-can-maximize-the-longevity-runway/).
That’s the thinking at Longevity Center Switzerland, which recently opened in Zurich. The medical director is Anna Erat (MD, PhD), who has extensive experience not just in preventative medicine, but also working with athletes. That includes Iron Man triathletes, Formula 1 drivers and ice hockey players, some of them competing at the most elite international levels.
Some of the most important parts of sports medicine are preventative. How do you avoid injury? How can you keep your body working at its best for longer? If you do have some type of chronic condition, how can you manage symptoms to minimize its impact? This is clearly relevant to longevity medicine, which aims to maintain the human body in its healthiest possible state for as long as possible.
Sports have a significant role to play in longevity because exercise is so important to health, but there’s a lot more that longevity scientists can take from sports performance research. The role of diet and nutrients in maintaining or even boosting various parts of the body, the importance of sleep, how to avoid dangers like smoking or alcohol… these are just some of the complicated lifestyle factors that have a big impact on how we function both day-to-day and in the long term.
Experts like Dr. Erat can use their wide-ranging experience in nutrigenomics, biomedicine and epidemiology, along with knowledge about how healthcare systems work more generally, to analyze someone’s health. They can establish a performance baseline and diagnose any potential issues. Then, measurements of various biomarkers can be used to track progress as they embark on a program to improve strength, speed, endurance, agility and other aspects of physical performance.
You don’t have to be an athlete to live a stressful, high-impact life that could benefit from some preventative healthcare. You don’t need to have been active since youth to want to embark on a new exercise program as you age. Experts in sports and longevity can help a lot of people if they work together.