Jerry Seinfeld, at 66, has some firm views on how to age well and age less – quite apart from continuing a high-volume, creative output.
He puts his plan down to two key ‘tools’ that he has described in detail while talking on the Tim Ferris show.
The tools? Transcendental Meditation and Weight Training.
Transcendental Meditation (or TM) is a proprietary form of meditation that requires sitting for 20 minutes twice a day and repeating a mantra. (TM is mostly taught by certified instructors and costs $380 to $960 on a sliding scale, although there are reports, books and videos that can provide more information on how to use TM to heighten your creativity and provide a more placid, calm ‘you’.
Seinfeld agrees, calling TM “the absolutely ultimate work tool.”
So, what makes this type of meditation so special? Practicing TM “allows the active thinking mind to just, all of it to just settle down, and experience quieter levels of thought,” Bob Roth, TM instructor and CEO of The David Lynch Foundation, said in a 2014 YouTube video.
According to Seinfeld, TM helps to reduce stress and increase energy and focus. “As a standup comic, I can tell you, my entire life is concentration fatigue,” he said. “Whether it’s writing or performing, my brain and my body, which is the same thing, are constantly hitting the wall. And if you have [TM] in your hip pocket, you’re Columbus with a compass.”
Seinfeld practices TM twice a day or “any time I feel like I’m dipping,” he said. For example, if he isn’t feeling inspired during a writing session, he will meditate. “If I sit down and the pen doesn’t move for like 20 minutes, I know I’m out of gas,” he said.
Weight training three times a week
Seinfeld’s workout routine includes a mix of lifting weights for an hour and interval cardio training three times a week.
Seinfeld initially got into weight training by doing Bill Phillips’ “Body For Life” program, a 12-week diet and exercise regimen that includes exercising six times a week (three days for lifting weights and three days of high-intensity interval training) and eating six small meals a day. Now exercise is a crucial part of his daily routine.
“There are a lot of days where I want to cry instead of do it because it really physically hurts,” Seinfeld said. “But I just think it’s very balancing to the forces inside humanity that I think are just, they overwhelm us.”
There’s some science to this healthy habit: Studies have shown that resistance training workouts (exercises that strengthen your muscles using external resistance, like free weights, machines or your own bodyweight) can relieve symptoms of anxiety.
The physical activity guidelines for Americans suggest that adults get 150-300 minutes a week (or 20-45 minutes a day) of moderate-intensity activity, or 75-150 minutes a week (or 10 to 20 minutes a day) of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.