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Dr. Peter Attia and the Centenarian Decathlon

We can all acknowledge that good physical health is crucial for a good quality of life at any age.

But as we get older, the challenges increase.

Recently, I discovered an American physician called Dr. Peter Attia who asked himself, “If I want to live to 100, what do I want to physically be able to do to be satisfied with my life?” 

He made a list. 

  • Shoot a bow and arrow 
  • Lift a 30lb suitcase into an overhead locker on a plane
  • Get up off the floor using one arm 
  • Drop to a squat position and pick up a child weighing 30lbs 
  • Get out of a pool without a ladder
  • Carry two bags of shopping up four flights of stairs 

There were 18 in total. He then came up with the idea of ‘Centenarian Decathlon.’ 

An Olympics for him, at age 100, in which all his training and exercise focuses on his ability to achieve each of his 18 aims. 

He admits, at 46, most of these actions seem trivial today. But can you imagine how life would be if you could still achieve each of these at 100?

He then back-reversed all his exercises in the gym to meet his physical goals. 

No racing, no competing. He focuses on simple exercises now to help him achieve each of his specific physical aims. 

He divided his training into a framework with each exercise falling into a category. 

  1. Stability 
  2. Strength 
  3. Aerobic performance 
  4. Anaerobic output 

One of the reasons I became much more active 12 months ago is that, when I turned 40, I began to notice a decline in my physical fitness. 

I couldn’t do many of the things I could in my 20s. 

I thought: I can accept this, or I can do something about it. 

If you do decide to make a list, be sure to consult professional advice. 

My two boys, 5 and 7 years old, have perfect technique for a range of activities such as squats. By my 20s, I’d lost all natural mobility and technique but I could get away with most things because of my strength. 

Now, in my 40s, I realise form and moblity is everything – but I really like Dr. Attia’s approach and I think everyone, whatever their stage in life, can incorporate his principles into their fitness regime and enjoy the benefits. 

So, what do you want to be able to do at 100?

You can watch Dr. Attia discuss the concepts further in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzDLvkE0cCw

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