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  • Writer's picturePaula Allia

Fitness Together – Happy Fitness! Fitness for Longevity

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'Tis the season that the most gym memberships are sold throughout the country. It seems that New Year’s resolutions tend to always include an adjustment of body weight and/or exercise to get the year rolling.

Where should one begin? Start with thinking about exercising for your longevity. No matter how old you are, it is true that what is done now affects our conditions later. First, try and create some consistency in your everyday life. Second, consider your eating habits and learn to take responsibility for your eating decisions. Lastly, include exercise that is for cardiovascular and weight training.

Dr. Peter Attia studies longevity. He discusses that exercise is the best behavior for enhancing longevity and it is all based on statistical data. It helps to control blood sugar, increases muscle strength, and provides a better quality of life. Bone strength is also key with weight training enhancing the production of bone thus keeping bones from becoming osteoporotic. He uses a series of ten exercises that are broken down based on age. The most basic exercise used is grip strength. Seems simple but not if you are not healthy.

Strength, muscle mass, and cardiovascular fitness all lead the way statistically to living longer and with a healthier, better quality of life. According to Dr. Attia, briskly walking three to four times a week and keeping your heart rate in a steady state in what they call Zone Two for a 45-minute to one-hour session can add longevity and even help to lessen the chance of Alzheimer’s disease. This exercise can be achieved by walking, swimming, stationary bike, rowing, or the elliptical trainer, using 60-70% of the maximum heart rate. It is a steady state that is not too difficult and is based on heart rate but not based on huffing and puffing.

Zone Two cardiovascular exercise incorporates how the body uses what you eat for life’s existence. There is something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is produced in the mitochondria (the powerhouse) of each and every cell. If we did not have ATP life could not be sustained.

We stimulate the production of ATP in different ways. First, aerobic exercise using oxygen allows the body to turn fatty acids into energy. Second, anaerobic exercise (without oxygen) allows us to produce ATP in the cells (cytosol) but this amount of ATP production nets far less energy than with oxygen. Finally, we have some stored (ADP) that can be affected by something called creatine phosphate which will give up part of itself to make a readily available ATP.

There are six zones of training with Zone One being the lowest intensity. These are the basic things done every day like sitting and standing and basic walking. We want to burn fat for these activities but it does not burn enough fat. Zone Two is trying to get the body to an aerobic base using fats and some carbohydrates and so is Zone Three. Once a person gets into Zone Four training it is all using carbohydrates as is Zone Five. Zone Six is when the body taps into the stored energy (ADP) binding with creatine phosphate to create ATP for the energy for exercise.

The suggestion for exercise and creating longevity is to work in Zone Two initially, which is the level that you can sustain without breathing heavily. This level is pertinent to finding a base to work and exercise in where the muscles are activated, blood is flowing through tissues, and there is even a release of endorphins which provide a good overall feeling. Studies have shown that working in this zone can increase the number of mitochondria in the cells. Remember that mitochondria are the powerhouse of every cell and they create ATP for energy. The more mitochondria one has in a given cell the more energy it can create. It has been found that training here in Zone Two teaches the body to burn fat for energy and you can train it to do just that. The mitochondria can become more efficient in producing energy and a cell with training can add more mitochondria and thus have the ability to create more ATP and thus energy.

In addition to Zone Two, performing interval training with four minutes at a hard level followed by four minutes of recovery repeated five times only once a week is added to aid your body to improve its chances to live longer.

Make a difference in your life and make the changes necessary to help yourself. Stay tuned for the next article to cover more on this topic.

To Your Health!


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