To Your Health
March, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 03)
Cardio Fit for Life
By Editorial Staff
A long life – as in less chance that you'll die before your "time." That's what being cardio fit in early adulthood through middle age can do for you, according to new research.
Let's take a look at why cardiovascular exercise should be an important part of your fitness regimen.
The stats don't lie: "Every 1 minute of higher early-adulthood cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a lower risk of premature death, and every 5% increase in cardiorespiratory fitness retained throughout midlife was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality." That's the conclusion from research involving nearly 5,000 adults enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
Participants were ages 18-30 at baseline and underwent follow-up examinations every 2-5 years for more than three decades to track how cardiovascular fitness correlated with health; particularly whether each participant experienced any nonfatal or fatal cardiovascular events (or died by any other cause) during the study period.
Cardio fitness was assessed via a graded exercise test protocol ["up to nine 2-minute stages of increasing workload, ranging from 4.1 to 19.0 MET (metabolic equivalent task)"] conducted at three time points: baseline and during year-seven and year-nine follow-up exams. The researchers note three primary findings of importance in their conclusion: "(1) higher early-adulthood cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a reduced risk of premature death; (2) higher early-adulthood cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a reduced risk of fatal or nonfatal CVD events; and (3) early-adulthood cardiorespiratory fitness retained through midlife was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Now that's a win-win-win!