As the business management guru Peter Drucker put it, “What gets measured, gets managed.” According to William Evans, Ph.D. and Irwin H. Rosenberg, M.D., authors of Biomarkers: The 10 Keys To Prolonging Vitality, here are 10 metrics that we can quantify to see how gracefully we are aging:
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- Muscle mass
- Basal metabolic rate
- Body fat percentage
- Aerobic capacity
- Blood-sugar tolerance
- Cholesterol/HDL ratio
- Blood pressure
- Bone density
- Ability to regulate internal temperature
Why these 10 biomarkers?
Because they are critical biological functions that influence vitality and we know how to safely and efficiently revive these functions in older people. It is well known that your muscles get smaller and weaker over the years. This happens in part as a result of the natural atrophy that occurs with aging and in part due to the seemingly ever-increasing desire for comfort and decreasing desire for physical challenge. The two realities combine to create a downward spiral that takes most of the fun out of life, though you may continue to live for a long time.
William Evans, Ph.D. and Irwin H. Rosenberg, M.D. say that the first biomarker, muscle mass, is responsible for the vitality of your whole body.
That’s right…muscle mass.
Not your cardiovascular system.
Strength, the second biomarker, is just as important.
They’re the first two dominoes, so to speak. When they start to topple, the other biomarkers soon follow. On the other hand, when muscle mass and strength are maintained or improved, the other biomarkers are maintained and improved, too. You biologically become and stay younger longer.
This is why we like to call the muscular system the “window to your longevity” and strength training is the “Fountain of Youth”.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get results.
One of the biggest problems most people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks because of an overly ambitious fitness plan. Two days per week of 20-minute low-intensity steady-state activity (walking, jogging, biking, swimming); and most importantly, two days per week of 20-minute resistance training is all you need to achieve optimal health and fitness. As you become acclimated to the lifestyle “shift”, you can drop down to one day per week to maintain your results.
People believe that more is better and this is absolutely not true. It’s the quality of the exercise that produces results not the quantity. This is known as the Minimum Effective Dose (MED). MED is simply defined as the smallest dose that will produce the desired result.
I’m always asking the question: “What’s the least amount of time I can spend exercising and get optimal results?”
That’s a hard concept for most to wrap their head around, but that’s the goal.
Anything below MED is ineffective.
Anything beyond MED is wasteful.
Anything beyond MED can be harmful.
For example: to boil water, the MED is applying heat to the water until the water temperature reaches 212°F at sea level. Boiled is boiled. It isn’t going to get any more “boiled” raising the temperature to 213°F. Raising it any higher than 212°F is a waste of resources that could be better used elsewhere.
Another example is medication. Your doctor doesn’t just hand you a bottle of pills and say, “Here are some pills that will help. Just take them if or when you feel like it.” Why? At best, the pills would do nothing for you. At worst, they might kill you. So, pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to determine the MED for the medications they produce and sell. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Why should exercise be any different?
There is a real parallel between medication prescriptions and the way we exercise at MaxStrength Fitness:
• Both medication and exercise act to stimulate change in the body.
• Both are administered in exact concentrations
• Both are administered in exact dosages
• Both are administered in exact frequencies
Like medication, too little exercise stimulus does nothing and too much will lead to injury or illness.