While I am a definite proponent of the food first paradigm for health, exercise is a very close second.
The Wellness Garage exercise principles are simple to understand, easy to do and evidence based:
Research consistently shows the importance of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) as an independent predictor of mortality. A recent study found that low cardiovascular fitness accounts for 16% of all deaths and was in fact the leading mortality predictor ahead of high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Studies have shown that running, mainly through it’s improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness can reduce risk for heart disease and stroke by 45-70% and cancer by 30-50%.
A recent study postulated that if all non-runners became runners 16% of all-cause and 25% of cardiovascular disease mortality would be prevented, and that every hour of running increased longevity by up to 7 hours! This effect was of course not infinite and caps out at about 3 years of additional life expectancy.
High levels of CRF are associated with normal insulin function and improved insulin sensitivity, improved blood pressure, improved cholesterol profiles, less inflammation and less oxidative stress. In fact when looking at running specifically there are many benefits:
From Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 2017 60, 45-55DOI: (10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005)
These benefits are not isolated to those associated with mortality as higher levels of CRF are associated with lower levels of depression, cognitive impairment and overall disability later in life. In other words, high levels of CRF lead to vital longevity.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise.
Bottom Line – improved cardiovascular fitness from regular activity is essential for vital longevity.
Similarly, but independently, to cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength has been shown to be inversely associated with death from all causes and cancer, especially in men.
Human ageing is associated with a loss of muscle, a decrease in strength and gradual impairment in ability to perform activities of daily living.
These changes start in middle age, around 40, and progressively deteriorate.
Bottom Line – maintaining muscle and strength is essential for vital longevity.
In addition to cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength, the ability to maintain normal functional movement is essential for long term health and independent living.
Functional training trains muscles and the nervous system in a coordinated, multiplanar movement patterns, incorporating multiple joints, dynamic tasks and consistent alterations in the base of support for the purpose of improving function.
Functional training has been shown to improve the ability to remain active and live independently.
Bottom Line – maintaining functional movement is essential for vital longevity.
It is clear that exercise improves health, prevents disease and leads to vital longevity and that a well designed exercise behavior would incorporate activities that improve cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and functional movement.
The Wellness Garage exercise principles are simple to understand, easy to do, and evidence based:
Dr. Brendan Byrne