What if a simple fitness test could give you a glimpse into your future health outlook?
We are constantly being bombarded with information about what we need to do to stay healthy and how much we need to do it. But even if you do all of the things, the question remains … how do you know if you’re actually in good enough physical shape for the long haul?
Read below for a simple test that can help you unlock this vital knowledge.
According to a study published by The European Society of Cardiology, a simple test can tell you if you are at risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study used 12,615 individuals with known or suspected coronary disease. Each participant performed treadmill exercise echocardiography. They were asked to walk or jog with increasing intensity until exhaustion. The test allowed the researchers to see how well each individual’s heart was functioning.
Results were measured in metabolic equivalents, known as METs, which measure the energy cost of an activity. The goal was for each participant to achieve 10 METs. To put METs in perspective, it requires 1 MET unit to sit still, walking achieves 3 and jogging will use 6 METs.
Individuals that could achieve the goal of 10 METs were said to have “good functional capacity”, while those that could not had “poor functional capacity”.
At the time of the 4.7 year follow-up, there had been 1,253 cardiovascular deaths from the study group and 670 deaths from cancer. The results showed how participants in the “poor functional capacity” group were three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and twice as likely to die from cancer!
The longevity gains didn’t stop at 10 METs either. Patients that were able to achieve more than 10 METs on their test saw even greater decreased risks. Each MET above ten came with a 9% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer!
As we all know, physical activity is good for you and is something that we should all do every day. But how does it actually work? What does being able to achieve 10 METs actually mean for your body?
Dr. Jesús Peteiro, author of the study and cardiologist at University Hospital in Coruña, Spain, “physical activity has a positive effect on the blood pressure and lipids. It reduces inflammation and improves the body’s immune response to tumors.”
Regulation of blood pressure and lipids in the cardiovascular system is a key component of heart health. In addition, inflammation has been shown to contribute to both cardiovascular disease and the development of some cancers, which helps explains the results seen by Dr. Petiero’s team.
The good news is that you don’t need a crystal ball, or treadmill exercise cardiography, to find out if you fall into the “good” or “poor”category of the study.
The goal of 10 METs for the study participants equals about the same amount of energy required to climb 4 flights of stairs in under a minute, without having to stop.
This means you can easily test yourself by simply climbing some stairs!
If you can climb 3-4 flights of stairs in 45-55 seconds, without needing to stop, you can consider yourself a member of the “good functional capacity” group. If you can’t, that’s ok! It just means that it’s time to getup and become more active to improve your fitness levels.
This past October, the federal government updated its exercise recommendations for the first time in 10 years. These new guidelines say that 2.5 hours of physical activity per week can reduce your risk of heart disease, protect from diabetes, and even help make your body more resistant to tumors.
Prior guidelines focused more specifically on time spent exercising, while new guidelines offer a more comprehensive picture.
We’ve already talked about reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular health and cancer, but the benefits of meeting your exercise requirement don’t end there. You will also be reducing your risk of diabetes, building strong bones and maintaining a healthy weight.
And don’t forget the mental benefits…
Regular exercise helps improve memory, reduces anxiety and depression and will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Now that you are ready to exercise and live a longer healthier life — the question is how to do it?
An elliptical is a great way to meet your exercise requirements from the comfort of your own home.
Not only will an at-home machine provide you with the cardiovascular exercise to keep you going for years to come, you will be building key muscle groups at the same time. This is also a great options for those that suffer from back and hip pain, or an injury. An elliptical provides you with a fantastic no-impact workout.
There’s no need to schedule travel time and find the gym that’s right for you when everything you need is in your living room. Plus, scorching outdoor temperatures and snowy winter months can’t stop you when you control the temperature.
Check out our Best Buy Elliptical models and find the one that will keep you moving and shaking for many healthy years to come!
Cardiovascular Benefits and Recommendations: Katrina L. Piercy,Richard P. Troiano; 2018
Stair test may predict your risk of dying of heart disease, cancer, study finds: A. Pawlowski; Dec. 6, 2018
Performance on exercise test predicts risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer: Good performance equates to climbing three floors of stairs very fast Findings underline importance of fitness for longevity; 2018