Live strong and prosper! Often exercise is thought of as a way to stay healthy and look good naked. Our training should go beyond an aesthetics based focus. Yes, exercise keeps you healthy but did you actually know that certain factors inside of our exercise regimen may actually extend your life AND keep you healthy and functional during your later years?
As exercise science and exercise physiology continues to progress the more we find out about the effects of exercise and training have on our longevity. If we asked you what health factors you thought most likely affect your health and longevity, what would you say? Blood pressure? Cholesterol? Body fat? Family history of disease? Well outside of being struck by lightning or any genetics, the three things that have the biggest impact on your longevity:
- Leg Strength
- VO2 Max
- Lean Body Mass/Quantity of Quality Muscle Mass
It used to be thought in the scientific world that muscle was just stupid. Our brain and spinal cord just told it what to do and it did whatever it ordered it to do. Well flash forward to today’s world and you will now know that muscle is our biggest endocrine organ. This means our muscle is an intelligent piece of meat that sends and receives messages from our body’s different and unique systems. We know that muscles can do things such as regulate our hormones or control our blood sugar by sending messages to our liver! Being healthy doesn’t mean just long aerobic type exercise, getting in varied types of strength training and HIIT training is extremely important to our health
This plays a huge role in our quality of life. If you stand up out of a chair, your heart rate will go up a few beats, nothing drastic. Now you go to the gym. You start warming up for a heavy squat day, you start adding weight and each rep responds in a higher heart rate. Okay, now you’re primed up and hit a new 1 rep max back squat, your heart rate is now through the roof because you just hit a new 400+ max. Now, reverse your thinking. Imagine if standing up out of your chair was like hitting a new squat max.
The reality is, getting out of a chair for some people is like that. Daily tasks like standing and sitting are so difficult it’s as if daily tasks now become a max effort test, resulting in a poor quality of life. Can you see the correlation now between having stronger legs is often a good predictor of health?
VO2max is often associated with heart health. It’s a measure of the capacity of your body (engine) has to use oxygen when exercising. If you have a high VO2 max, you have a big engine. By increasing your VO2max you end up creating a higher capacity for your lungs to take in more oxygen, which means the more oxygenated blood your heart can pump. This is an important factor in your health. Healthy lungs and a healthy heart!
Quantity and Quality Muscle Mass
As you know, our muscle mass is made up of proteins, but everything in our bodies is made from some type of protein, whether it’s our cells, hair, skin, and nails. These proteins are made of amino acids, the building blocks. Our muscle mass acts as a storage device for amino acids our body can use when it experiences changes at all levels.
If you lack or have poor quality muscle mass. You cannot store amino acids. To stay out of too much nitty-gritty science and how this works we will keep it simple. If we go down to the cellular level and our bodies are fighting an infection we need as many immune cells as we can to fight that infection. Well, as our body battles this infection we lose immune cells to this battle. The key is to have a steady flow of proteins to continue to repair and rebuild new cells to hop back in that battle against the infection. That’s just one of many examples of how muscle plays a role in aiding our health.
Muscle mass is responsible for aid in the regulation of many bodily functions and you can see how it obviously ties into leg strength and VO2max. Taking care of your muscle goes a long way with proper nutrition and training. Keep your quality of life as you age and stack the deck against early mortality!
Don’t neglect to feed your muscle quality protein throughout the day and get delicious lean sources. If you have a hard time eating enough throughout the day Titan Nutrition® Titan Whey™ protein powder is a delicious and effective way to add more protein to your day and feed your muscles!
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