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Fitness Friday: Quality AND Quantity

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Many times in life we ask ourselves what is more important to us, quantity or quality? Perhaps it depends what we are referring to. When it comes to spending money on a movie, many of us look for a quality movie that we hope to enjoy. Sometimes, if you’re like me and my enjoyment for Star Wars, you might hope that greater quantities of movies are made just so you can see those same characters return in another exciting adventure. Ideally, those sequels should be just as good if not better than the first one. However, many of us know that sequels do not always turn out the way we hoped for, as was the case for the new Star Wars trilogy.

Outside the realm of movies, many people also toss back in forth the importance of “Quality of Life” vs. “Quantity of Life”. Would I rather live a short and exciting life?… or a longer less exciting life”? Well, the good news is, it is certainly possible to have both. Most people know that exercising is good for you. But sometimes people forget why it is good for them. The two benefits of exercise, cardiorespiratory exercise in particular, that I would like to point out today are; 1) Improved Energy levels (increased VO2 max) and 2) reduced resting heart rate.

When you hear people talking about VO2 max, they are talking about a person’s maximum capacity to take oxygen and deliver it to muscles for energy during exercise. The more oxygen your muscles receive during exercise, the longer you will be able to continue the activity at a higher intensity. More simply put, the more energy you have, the more things you can accomplish at an “easier” rate. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say they do not want to exercise because they would rather spend their time doing something else. It turns out, with regular exercise, you could do both and more!

The American Heart Association has found that the average human heart beats about 2.6 billion times in a lifetime. This is the same for those who are healthy and those who are unhealthy (assuming they did not pass away pre-maturely). It is known that with regular cardio-respiratory exercise a person’s resting heart rate decreases. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute. The slower a person’s heart rate is, the less times a heart has to beat in a minute, the less times it beats in a day and in a year. Therefore, since the amount of beats is fairly consistent for healthy and unhealthy hearts, the less frequently it beats, the longer you will live.

So let’s get this straight. Exercising increases your energy in a day and allows you to really put a lot of quality into it. Not only that, but it ALSO slows down a person’s “living timer”?! Wow! It sounds like it really is possible to have both quality and quantity in a lifetime! Let’s just hope the next Star Wars trilogy “exercises” that same pattern!

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