How sports medicine can maximize the longevity runway

Longevity Center Zurich Medical Director Anna Erat on translating sports science into longevity and healthspan.

With a suite of state-of-the-art clinics, Longevity Center is opening the door on ‘living better for longer’ for its clients. Offering a wide range of longevity assessments and preventative check-ups, Longevity Center is grounded in geroscience research, as well as embracing a holistic mindset that acknowledges the importance of mental health and feeling well.

Longevity.Technology: Longevity Center Switzerland is the company’s third clinic, opened in Zurich earlier this year. Its team is headed by Medical Director Anna Erat MD PhD, whose clinical specialization spans preventive, sports and internal medicine, and whose clients include ice hockey team players, Formula 1 drivers and world-class Ironman triathletes. Erat also brings expertise in biomedicine, genetics, epidemiology and health systems management to her leadership of Longevity Center Switzerland, and we sat down with her to find out why optimizing for sports excellence is helping Longevity Center optimize healthspan for its clients.

Dr Anna Erat on…

Integrating sports medicine into longevity

It’s actually quite a natural transition – being in prevention and sports medicine, working with athletes, you ask yourself: ‘How can they optimize their performance and optimize their health?’. It’s not only about avoiding disease and avoiding injury, it’s about really pushing it to the next level, because that’s how you win a world championship. In some disciplines, like Ironman triathlons, you are pushing yourself consistently for a long time, or marathon runners who perform well into their senior years, and these are similar to the longevity journey – you have to be able to finish the race.

Traditionally, preventive medicine was divided into primary prevention – avoiding disease – and secondary prevention, which is taking care of chronic conditions to optimize health and prevent complications. Whereas longevity is about optimizing health, pushing the limits and increasing healthspan – living healthily in an optimal state for as long as possible.

Lifestyle is such a huge part of longevity – sleep, nutrition, diet, of course, and sports play a huge role, too. We can learn an immense amount from athletes, including keeping fit and avoiding over-use injuries, and this all helps with longevity.

Translating sports science

Using the latest diagnostics helps us to understand both a client’s baseline and their potential and my knowledge of nutrigenomics – how to get quicker, faster, stronger, more agile – also plays a key role. These all feed directly in, and we use biomarkers and measures to generate objective data, both to evaluate at that moment, but to track progress.

Our team in Zurich is very excited and ready to go, but we’re also looking to keep building out the team to ensure diversity of experience.

Maximizing the runway

I want to draw from the pool of experience I have with elite athletes and translate it into other populations. People who might have been more inactive when younger often get into sports as they get older, and we can help them reach their goals without jeopardizing their health. We want to support their health and longevity and make them live as long as possible with a good healthspan.

We sometimes forget that many jobs are strenuous, especially those in management or other professionals. In a way, they are the top athletes when it comes to corporations, and we want to support them as well to be able to improve their health and maintain and improve their stamina and performance.