Absolute Peak Exercise Capacity
peak exercise capacity ... is what medical researchers call the
most intense aspect of exercise. It's the hardest part. It's the 15 seconds of
sprinting at the end of a long run. It's the most difficult 10 seconds of
pumping during a peak level on an exercise bike. It's the last few reps at the
end of working "legs" in the gym. It's walking up stairs and having to stop to
catch your breath.
When the highest-intensity aspect
of exercise is measured, it has been proven to be a better predictor of how
long someone will live than other factors - including health risk factors like
high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and even heart
Researchers from Stanford University, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, tested over 6,200 men and concluded that the chances of staying alive increase by 12 percent with each increase of a single metabolic equivalent when exercising as hard as possible on a treadmill.
A "metabolic equivalent" (MET) is the amount of oxygen used by an average seated person.
METs increase with the intensity of exercise.
2 METs - walking at 2 mph
5 METs - walking at 4 mph
8 METs - jogging at 6 mph
The risk of death for those who could not get beyond 4 METs (brisk walking) was more than double the group who could get past 8 MET (jogging).
What this means to you
Simply, this study shows that traditional ways of thinking about increasing longevity does little when compared to the strategy of using exercise to improve health and fitness.
Adults should consider (with physician clearance first) performing high-intensity fitness training that will increase "absolute peak exercise capacity" and raise MET performance rating during exercise.
This type exercise - high-intensity, anaerobic fitness training that makes you sweat and breathe hard - is the most demanding type of exercise. However, this is the type of fitness training that yields wonderful fitness dividends for healthy adults.
The take home
All adults need to consider performing a fitness improvement plan that will gradually build "peak exercise capacity." And that's what Ready Set Go Fitness is all about! More in the next newsletter.
Have a great day!
Phil Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE
Author Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness
NOTE: The purpose of this article is to expand thinking about fitness as an informational source for readers, and is not medical advice. Before attempting the Synergy Fitness program, the Sprint 8 Workout, or any high-intensity exercise program, consult your physician. This is not just a liability warning; it's wise to have a baseline medical exam before beginning a fitness program. Make your physician a partner in your fitness improvement plan.