You can lengthen your health span. Are you working on it yet? I am sure you are in one form or another!
If your have been following along the last few posts have been about the “Biomarkers” that you can work on to help yourself have a longer health span. I have mentioned your muscle mass, your strength, and your basal metabolic rate and your body fat.
Biomarker #5 is Your Aerobic capacity: This is your body’s ability of processing oxygen, basically.
Your aerobic capacity when you are an older adult is 30-40 percent smaller than young adults. That capacity would decrease less if one exercised regularly. Did you know that it doesn’t matter whether you were a great athlete with a great aerobic capacity when you were younger? So you need to keep it up or get back into it!
People who seldom experience exercise have a a reduced heart size ( the heart is a muscle and just like other muscles it needs to be “exercised”). That coupled with the fact that as you get older you have a reduced maximal heart rate gives the result that the amount of blood that the heart can pump over a given period of time is less.
So what might this have to do with your muscles?
Well— your muscle cells use the oxygen to change the energy stored in the carbohydrates and fat into a form of energy that can be used for the physical activity or the exercise. If you have less muscle you will not be able to process the oxygen as well. And of course if those muscles are weakened, or smaller, it hinders that process.
Being inactive reduces your muscle cells ability to use the oxygen. (one of the worst things that inactivity does to the body).
Have you ever had that muscle fatigue? Maybe not yet. But aging people who have less muscle can’t process that oxygen as well. Those muscles can’t process that oxygen to be used, they can’t convert those carbohydrates and those fats. So what do you think one needs to do? Use the muscles. RIght!
In older people exercise does more to condition the muscles than it does to condition the heart. All adaptations to the rigours of exercise take place in the muscles of the older person’s body… Not the heart!!
That is why it so important to strengthen the muscles!!
When older people have more muscle they have a higher aerobic capacity because they have more muscle cells to consume that oxygen.
When you exercise you breathe more and your heart beats faster for ONE reason!! To pump oxygen to your working muscles. The more the muscles are demanding the oxygen the greater your use for oxygen. (your aerobic capacity!)
Of course less muscle the lower the need for oxygen.
You need to have more muscle to be able to process the oxygen. You will have muscle fatigue if you can’t process that oxygen. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to avoid that muscle fatigue?
I say, “Get moving!” Are you?