Does exercise reverse aging?
How much exercise do we actually need?
Can you be fat and fit?
I’ve recently watched an episode of the Nature of things with David Suzuki called “the quest for perfection”. It aired on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 and was hosted by Dr. Jennifer Gardy who is a microbiologist at the British Comlumbia Centre for Disease Control. In this episode she covered many topics related to human well being and performance. The first 3 topics that are covered in the show are the ones I’d like to focus on in this post as they seek to challengeÂ our philosophies here at OneUp Fitness.
Lets start with their first topic: “can exercise reverse aging?” Our bodies are driven largely by an organelle in our cells called Mitochondria. They provide power to our cells and help to repair damage to our bodies. Dr. Gardy explains that as we age we lose function of our Mitochondria and they began to deteriorate. When they deteriorate it can lead to everything from grey hair and wrinkled skin to diabetes and dementia. In this episode they demonstrate that with even a very short term exercise program, these deteriorating Mitochondria can be saved and enhanced. They even demonstrate an improvement in wrinkles and skin integrity.Â It would appear that exercise can be regarded somewhat as the “fountain of youth”.
What about the next topic: “how much exercise is actually needed?” Arguably, the single greatest obstacle to exercise is time. In this segment of the show Dr. Gardy meets with a researcher from McMaster University, Dr. Martin Gibala. Dr. Gibala is a muscle physiologist and has published almost a dozen articlesÂ related to high intensity exercise and nutrition. You can see his work here. His work demonstrates that short bursts of high intensity training, adding up to as little as 30 minutes per week is just as effective (and sometimes more effective) as endurance exercise that can last up to 6 times that amount (~3-4 hours per week). He runs Dr. Gardy through a similar program on the show. After only 2 weeks of high intensity training Dr. Gardy, despite already being an avid exerciser, improved her baseline measures by 12%! Which is pretty remarkable after only 2 weeks of training (at less than half the time of what she used to training).
Can you be Fat and Fit? It has long been thought that if you are fat you cannot be fit at the same time, but is this really true? Apparently not! Our capacity for physical work is driven not by how lean we are, but rather by the quality of our muscle tissue, which of course is improved with exercise. This also has positive health implications.Â What’s more, you can have a healthy body weight and be unfit. Should be no surprise there. However, all things considered, these thinner individuals could be at a greater risk for chronic diseases than their over-fat, but fit, contemporaries.
So, to sum up:
In as little as 30 minutes per week you can dramatically improve your fitness as long as your exercise sessions are intense. We here at OneUp Fitness feel that this is the bare minimum and recommend to the majority of the population that 2 thirty minute sessions is more appropriate for consistent improvements.Â This exercise produces positive metabolic changes that enhance your health and help to reverse the markers of aging (even wrinkly skin!). Even if you are over-fat, you can still reap the benefits of being fit.
If you would like to watch the episode in its entirety, you can find it here –> “the quest for perfection”
I hope that you found this interesting and informative. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at the address below. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook page (the link is below as well). Thanks!
Matt – [email protected]