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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cardio Health Decline Vs Quantity Of Coaching – BionicOldGuy


It’s normally acknowledged that most cardio capability (VO2Max) declines with age at a charge of about 10% per decade in sedentary folks, however that those that proceed to do health coaching will solely lose this capability at about 5% per decade. A typical examine upon which this rule of thumb is predicated is ref. 1. This is likely one of the causes for the maxim “use it or lose it”. It seems to be “actually use it so that you lose it extra slowly”. But it surely’s necessary as a result of the distinction between 5% and 10% is big for high quality of life. Actions of each day residing like having the ability to go up stairs turn out to be very tough or unimaginable if VO2Max goes under about 20. This may occur by the point you’re about 70 or 80 if sedentary, however could be delayed till greater than 100 years of age should you hold coaching.

One other necessary issue is that it has been proven that cardio capability could be regained considerably over just a few months of coaching in older individuals who have beforehand been sedentary (Ref 2). So should you get to a sure age, and understand you’re slowing down (“Why am I beginning to get winded strolling over to the mailbox?”), you’ll be able to readily flip the clock again just a few a long time, fitness-wise, by getting critical about coaching to get in form.

However a 2022 meta-analysis [2] appeared on the information from a number of earlier research to reexamine this matter. I realized of this from Alex Hutchinson’s “Sweat Science” in Exterior Journal (there could also be a pay wall on the hyperlink however they normally permit you just a few free peeks at articles). An important discovering is that even critical athletes who proceed coaching, have a tendency to scale back their coaching quantity (variety of hours per week) over time. Amongst those that sustain their quantity, the speed of loss in VO2Max is even smaller, extra like 2.5% per decade. Alex identified that coach Alan Couzens, primarily based on information from his personal athletes, goes additional to counsel {that a} decline in health could also be prevented totally if we enhance our coaching quantity as we age. Coach Couzens got here up with the rule of thumb that we’ve to coach our age, in hours, every month, to realize this. So when you’re 80 you simply have to coach 80 hours per 30 days, or 20 hours every week. This can be a lot, clearly, and nicely past the 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) every week of coaching sometimes really helpful by well being authorities.

However this may occasionally really be possible for a few of us who’re retired and for whom health is our passion. By coincidence, I at present do prepare for about 2 1/2 hours per day on common, as a result of I take pleasure in it, which precisely meets Couzens’ rule. If I simply bump it up a bit annually, and by the point I’m 80 I do about 3 hours per day, does that imply I’ll lose no health in any respect? I’ll be excited to seek out out 10 years from now.

All of this has oversimplified the difficulty by solely contemplating coaching quantity and never depth. Numerous strategies exist for enhancing VO2MAX considerably with decrease quantity and better depth coaching. Most likely essentially the most well-known is the Tabata protocol, which takes solely 4 minutes complete however entails 8 rounds of 20 seconds of sprinting with solely 10 seconds of restoration in between. Time-efficient, however very robust! I might speculate that those that prepare with significantly much less quantity, however hold their depth excessive sufficient, might additionally battle off the decline in health with age fairly nicely. I’ve additionally seen the other impact. There are cyclists within the membership I trip with which have stored their coaching quantity fairly excessive for many years, however their depth has decreased over time (they’ve both gotten slower or are doing fewer climbs). So I think holding quantity excessive and persevering with to do some high-intensity work are each necessary to forestall getting slower.

What about for these of us for which health is not a passion and usually are not notably excited on the prospect of coaching for hours per day? I might say simply attempt to get the general public well being advice of two 1/2 hours per week of exercise. And throw in some higher-intensity stuff like strolling up stairs or biking up hills at the least as soon as every week (different elements of health like resistance coaching and stability coaching are additionally necessary). Your health might decline some over time, however rather a lot lower than for a sedentary individual, and also you’ll nonetheless be capable of do actions of each day residing at 100. Not a foul consequence.


  1. Rogers, M, et al, “Decline in VO2max with growing older in grasp athletes and sedentary males”, J Appl Physiol, 1990
  2. Burtscher, J, et al, “The Influence of Coaching on the Lack of Cardiorespiratory Health in Getting older Masters Endurance Athletes”, Int J Environ Res Public Well being, 2022

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