The 4 Main Indicators of Human Mortality
There are many factors that go into the life expectancy of the average human being. Diseases, accidents, crime, etc all play a role in mortality rates, and as scary as it is to admit, in a lot of ways we don’t have control over how we meet our eventual end. That being said, we still have distinct control over our life expectancy in certain ways, and there is a hierarchy as to what we should be focusing on in order to stave off the grim reaper for as long as possible. Here are the four main (controllable) indicators of a human being’s mortality:
Your VO2 max is the specific output of your heart and lungs. It’s a metric that equates to how much oxygen you can utilize with each breath and is directly correlated to your overall fitness level, specifically your conditioning and endurance (although it does help with strength training as well). Simply put, your VO2 max is a good benchmark for overall heart and lung health. If you’ve ever seen someone running on a treadmill at a doctors office with a breathing apparatus on, the VO2 max is what they are measuring. Having a good VO2 max is a great way to help stave off metabolic disease such as heart conditions or type 2 diabetes. For the most part, people with a decent VO2 max are operating with a pretty healthy body weight as well. Diet and exercise play a huge role in how efficiently your cardio-respiratory system works too. Making sure to incorporate conditioning in your training program as well as eating a healthy diet will only help to improve your VO2 max.
Lean Muscle Mass
Lean muscle mass is the second indicator and it is simply mass that is not fat. This is where strength training takes center stage. Now, I know for a lot of people, when they hear the words strength training, it immediately conjures images of powerlifters bending bars and popping blood vessels in their eyes. If that is your lane, then more power to you, but for most people this is not the form of lifting that I am talking about. There are different forms of strength training that incorporate varying pieces of equipment, or with the right programming, you can build lean muscle with just your body weight. I’d also like to point out (more for the ladies) that strength training does not automatically equate to big bulky muscle mass. But the simple fact is that having more muscle than fat is a great way to stay healthy for the long haul. The stronger you are, the more resilient you are to life’s unexpected challenges, the better your immune system works, the sharper your brain body connection is, the more calories you burn in a rested state, and it also helps to protect your bones and joints as you age.
Grip strength may seem like a strange indicator of overall health, but it correlates with some very important biomarkers. As human beings we have a distinct advantage over all other animals because of our dexterity. Opposable thumbs give us the ability to utilize our hands and upper body in ways that have become vital to our survival. We are very adapted to a life where we can pick up objects, open doors, control cars and protect ourselves, among other things. Because of this, grip strength has become an efficient way to measure overall quality of life and longevity. Research has shown that grip strength can display a person’s overall muscular strength, bone density, and immune health which translates to a longer, healthier life.
Lower Body Strength and Health
As important as our hands are to us, our legs are just as vital and can give a very good picture of someone’s quality of life. Being mobile is an integral part of our existence, so it makes sense that lower body health will translate to a better life. Something as simple as being able to stand up from a seated position or walking up stairs can have a profound effect on a person’s life. Having strong, healthy legs allows us to move freely, pick things up safely, and even flee danger if needed.
Balance and agility are another important component of lower body health. Having better balance and coordination will make life a lot less dangerous especially as you get older. One very big concern as we age is falling and doing serious damage to our body, or not being able to get up at all. Making sure that your legs are strong and mobile throughout your life is a great way to ensure that you won’t have to deal with mobility problems as you get older.
So, what does all of this mean? In short, it means that everyone should be training with a quality strength and conditioning (concurrent) program! Even if we at FIT4YOU aren’t the ones helping you, it would be beneficial to find somewhere to train with a well-rounded program that can cover all 4 components of a human’s mortality. But if I can be of service in any way, please let me know at Fit4youchicago.com.