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Quality Muscle - Part 2

Poor fitness increases the risk of death.

Why it matters:
When we consider how live our best quality and longest life, overall fitness is a strong predictor for our risk of death. Take a look at the graphic below, which comes from a study of 122,000 people ranked by their performance on a test of aerobic fitness. 

  • Compared with the people in the lowest quarter of fitness, those in the below average group (25-50th percentile) had a FIFTY percent reduction in death rate
  • The risk of mortality continued to decrease with each improvement in fitness level

(click here for enlarged image)

What you can do:
It's easy to get confused by all the information about exercise available on the internet, and I've seen many people "overthink" their program design while never getting to the actual exercise. As you think about developing quality muscle, let me share a few general principles I'd encourage you to consider:

  1. Be safe. If you're not sure if you can exercise safely, or if you're experiencing symptoms during exercise (e.g. chest pain, breathlessness, lightheadedness), talk with your doctor.
  2. Be healthy. Start slowly and build up over time to reduce your risk of injury.
  3. Be consistent. If you're not in the habit of exercising, set a low bar initially. Exercising 10 minutes per day consistently will serve you better than exercising 60 minutes just once or twice.
  4. Enjoy it. Try to find activities you enjoy, or at least think you could enjoy someday.
  5. Exercise on most days. You'll get more benefit if you spread activity through the week instead of trying to get it all done on the weekend.
  6. Exercise in the morning. This is not a rule but rather a suggestion. Getting it done early simply means it's less likely to cancelled by the urgent needs of the day.
  7. Plan for weather. I hear lots of folks tell me they stopped exercising because it's too hot or too cold or too icy or too windy or too rainy or too snowy. It's Colorado - bad weather comes every year. We can plan for what we'll do when the weather isn't perfect.

Let me encourage you to do something. Anything. If you're not sure what to do, most people can safely start with walking. 

Next time I'll share some thoughts about cardio vs. strength training.

Have a super week,

Dr. Topher Fox

P.S. Below are the pictures from my exam room wall which we are exploring for this email series. 

Dr. Christopher Fox I am a board-certified endocrinologist in Superior, CO, and I have been in private practice since 2003. People I work with achieve success when they learn all the ingredients of healthy lifestyle and the system to consistently follow through on good intentions. I use my knowledge of endocrine science, psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior to help people make meaningful, lasting changes in their health that they can sustain long-term.

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