A norwegian study reports that a single measure of fitness – your aerobic capacity, as measured by ml/kg/min of O2 your body can use during hi intensity exercise (max VO2) – can provide you and your doc a measure of heart risk. They tested 5000 norwegians of all adult ages and determined that, if your maxVO2 goes down 5% relative to your age group, your risk profile goes up. This, of course, reflects on your overall risk for morbidity and even mortality due to cardiovascular decline. They also determined that maxVO2 declines, on avg, 5% per decade. Training slows this decline substantially, at least til age 60 or so.
The bummer to all these numbers is that norwegians are some of the fittest people on the face of the earth. Thus, by their standards, many teenagers and twenty-somethings are unfit and at risk in comparison to norwegians even in their thirties and forties. So, while the standard is high, it could mean it won’t be used by other nations to guide health care or insurance considerations: too many will fall into the hi risk categories and this would lead to increased medications, procedures, and insurance premiums.
The good news, and there’s always good news, is that for out of shape people willing and able to participate in hi intensity exercise even once a week, a 4 minute bout at 90% of your maximal ability is sufficient to provide some protection against aerobic decline. Alternatively, a 15 minute bout of moderately intense exercise will also suffice for those who are out of shape.
On a separate and personal note, just so you know, I have stage four OA of my right knee. It’s been operated on twice over the past 25 yrs and simply won’t get better but I’m not in horrible pain doing what I do best – fitness training. However, as I’ve written before, I did convert my desk to an upright so that I don’t have to sit for long periods of time and try to get up; and I do take naproxen sodium and fish oil caps to mitigate the pain; and I do rub on voltaren cream/drops to get me going when I wake up; and I don’t do things that blatantly hurt, unless you count sitting while typing, eating, or socializing. This past weekend I went to Denver to the ACSM annual meeting – fitness geeks: GO – you will learn more than you could expect and even change the way you train your clients!!!! I stayed with friends in Denver, visited an old tae kwon do buddy whom I had not seen in 29 yrs, and after the meetings on saturday, drove out to tabernash to see my oldest non-Philadelphia buddy, Whitney and his wife Kathleen, for a day. On Sunday we hiked gently around a lake near Grand Lake, which was at altitude (but that wasn’t the issue) but never got too far bc of hard rushing snow melt streams. nonetheless, two things i want to share: one, I wore merrill barefoot shoes and not only my knee but my feet felt GREAT – the foot adapts to the surface, not the ankle, and so the shoe did not lever the tibia which torques the knee – hence, no knee problems. The second is, we got in the truck to get lunch in Grand Lake and getting out of the car killed me.
So, I called my sports med doc, Jim Johnson, and got my first cortisone shot as required to initiate hyaluronadase shots. Within moments, as I walked out of the office, I noticed NO PAIN, despite the limp I’ve been using for years. So now I have to relearn walking, But I can also squat, step up, etc. Not that I will, but I could. Why? because I have to keep this leg strong. Keeping quads strong is mandatory if you want to defer surgery on the knee, esp knee replacement. kaatsu, or blood flow restricted exercise, is what I’ve been doing but even that hurt a little the next day. We’ll see – it did not hurt today after the shot and if good tomorrow, then I think I can defer the inevitable.
So there, I’m going to hit the bike, read, and do a sprint or two, then shower, and work tomorrow with joy and bounce in my step.
What are you doing to take care of yourself today?