The Treadmill Test: It Just Became A Powerful Predictor of Longevity… It’s All About Fitness!

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“Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death—a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say.”

This is the conclusion from the just-released study by Johns Hopkins cardiologists involving 58,000 people.

You can read the complete article here: http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-treadmill-mortality-formula-gauges-year.html

You must search far and wide to find statements more definitive and authoritative than this.

No need to say more.

A simple question, however, is certainly in order:

If not now, when?

For yourself and those who love you and depend on you, make health and fitness core values in your life!

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Breathing, Aging, and Aerobic Capacity: What You Need To Know, and What You Need To Do Now.

(The diaphragm–your most important skeletal muscle) 

Aerobic capacity is an important concept to any athlete. It takes a lot of oxygen to get things done at record-breaking levels. We all like to break records, even if they’re just our own.

Aging, however, rewrites the personal record book. All the numbers start to decline due to diminishing capacities. This brings us to the importance of the moment. If you want to have more physical resources in the future, you need to start strengthening what you have now; including bone density, aerobic capacity, and physical strength. What follows is a basic overview of why respiratory capacity changes over time (without considering disease or smoking), so that you can appreciate the importance of exercise.

Respiration involves the mechanical interplay of muscle and bone working together to bring air into and out of the lungs. Because bones can change in shape and quality with age and muscles can weaken, the body’s ability to move air through the pulmonary system degrades. At the fine level of the alveoli, where the actual oxygen exchange occurs, degradation with age is a fact, as well. Other issues are also at work, but these facts give you an insight into the importance of the muscles and bones of the rib cage.

One of the most informative articles on improving breathing comes from Will Kimball, Associate Professor of Trombone at Brigham Young University, whose article, “10 Proven Ways to Improve Breathing…” is well worth reading:   http://kimballtrombone.com/breathing/10-ways-to-improve-breathing/

Increase Your Aerobic Capacity Now

An excerpt from an internet article, “Effect of Aging on Respiratory System Physiology and Immunology” by Sharma and Goodwin 2006 September, highlights the importance of regular training:

“The effect of aging on exercise capacity is highly variable and depends upon individual fitness and regular physical activity. Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), an objective surrogate of fitness, peaks between 20 to 30 years of age, then declines by a rate of about 1% per year depending upon individual level of physical activity (declining more in sedentary compared with physically active adults). McClaran et al (1995) studied the longitudinal effects of aging on lung function at rest and during exercise in healthy older adults and showed an 11% reduction in VO2 max as a group over a 6 year period. All participants were highly trained in aerobic fitness, and their VO2 max was still twice the age predicted maximum.”  Bold print not part of original article.   ( Clin Interv Aging. 2006 September; 1(3): 253–260.)

Here’s a great article by a 69 year old marathoner who reflects on her decline in performance over the years due to aging:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/aging-marathoner-still-running-but-at-a-much-slower-pace/2014/12/05/d77ab396-691e-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html?wprss=rss_national

The takeaway: when it comes to defense against aging, take the offensive and get stronger and fitter now! You will definitely have more reserves to enjoy what’s really important later.

Research Update: 05/17/16
“Being fit may reduce decline in lung function… ”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160516213854.htm

To Your Healthy Lifestyle,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Exercising Is Like Saving For Retirement

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We all hope to have what we need when we get older. The primary focus for most is money. It is, of course, the power to get the necessities and luxuries. And while having lots of money certainly gives you more choices regarding cures and treatments, in the end, it’s not a substitute for good health.

But in a way, it’s good to have a similar mindset regarding both: setting aside reserves for the future benefits fiscally and physically.

But how does exercising now effect my future health?

I’m glad you asked!

Like saving money, having reserves on hand makes sense. In the case of your body, aging changes organ capabilities resulting in diminishing capacities. For instance, as your bones lose mass, their capacity of bearing weight and withstanding trauma is compromised. As you grow older, the amount of oxygen that the alveoli can transfer from the blood diminishes as the proportion of dead space in the lungs increases. This is taking place at the molecular level and is inevitable. In addition, the act of breathing itself is a function of the muscles and bones of the breathing apparatus moving in concert to accomplish the flow of air into and out of the lungs. As these muscles and bones lose strength and flexibility, the amount of air that is processed declines.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695176/

You can think of other bodily functions that suffer from diminishing capacities as aging progresses, but let’s focus on these two as we develop our simile.

Fact: You can increase the density of your bones by stressing them. A German surgeon, Julius Wolff, gave us this insight in the 19th century. The opposite, he noted, is also true; that lack of stress causes atrophy.

See the connection to saving for the future?

Knowing that aging brings bone loss naturally, if you enter your Senior years with stronger bones to begin with, the effects of diminishing capacity will be less catastrophic. There is no better activity for building bone mass than resistance exercising. In addition, you can certainly slow the effects of aging by continuing your healthy habits.

In the same way, your ability to effectively process oxygen – – your aerobic capacity, can be increased through consistent aerobic exercise. Here again, aging takes a toll which can be mitigated by increasing your capacities before and during Seniorhood.

There are numerous other benefits to exercising that make it absolutely your smartest investment, both short and long term!

Whatever your conclusion from the above, it’s never too late to start, but of course, sooner is always better than later!

Go Do It Now,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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