The best indicator of health?

· Fitness, General Health
Authors

Is your health important to you?

For many people it is, yet if you were to ask how they know if they are healthy or not, you would get quite a slew of answers, most different.

It raises the question of how we define health.

Dictionary.com says this ‘soundness of body or mind, freedom from disease or ailments’.

Well, some Danish researchers have gone and looked at ‘health’ and how to measure it, and come up with a surprising result.

Your VO2max is the best predictor of health.

(at least your cardiovascular health, let’s ignore your mental health and ALL other diseases for the moment!)

What is VO2max anyway?

It’s the Volume of Oxygen (O2) you can use when working at your cardiovascular limit. Basically, it’s how fast you can run (or cycle or swim, or do any cardio exercise) for about 8-12 mins. You can find some interesting bits about it here (I was highly impressed with ‘Big’ Miguel Indurain’s figure, given that he was quite a big bloke for a cyclist/endurance athlete).

Why might this be?

Well, what they took for health was all related to heart health (although there will be distinct benefits to most other body systems as well), so it makes sense that a test that maximally assesses how well your heart and associated tissues works would also show a relationship to hearth health. It’s a bit like wanting to find out how healthy your leg muscles are and then testing them by finding out your relative leg strength….

One part of the abstract that really interested me was this ‘”this suggests that in this age group intensity must be high enough to have an effect on VO2max before a preventive effect is present”.

What does this mean?

You have to workout hard to get some real benefits. No more pussying around on the treadmill whilst watching Trisha, cycling whilst reading the gossip mags or rowing like you can’t be arsed. You’re wasting your time. You need to get a sweat on, get the blood pumping and learn how to love giving yourself a beasting!

And, yes it is possible to enjoy hard work, nay it’s possible to love it.

That’s what I teach on the superbootcamps I run anyway.

Happy beasting,
George

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