Running Dead – Endurance Exercise Just Makes You Old Before Your Time

runner in painThis morning I started off early to meet with a friend in Delray Beach.

I drove to the main intersection outside my neighborhood just as the dawn broke.

There were almost no cars and no other movement on the road, so I couldn’t help but notice them off to my right…

Gathered around a nice little covered rest area with two benches were about 20 or so people.

They were all wearing running shoes and workout clothes.

It was some sort of runners’ group taking a rest break.

Then I noticed something else. Almost all of them had some kind of brace on their knee, elbow, ankle or somewhere.

They had pained looks on their faces… they just didn’t generally appear either happy or healthy. To tell you the truth, they looked like they were running for the hospital.

I decided I would now refer to this phenomenon as the “running dead.”

I felt bad for them. And I felt a kind of shame that, because of the standard advice of my fellow doctors, everyone everywhere still thinks running is necessary for exercise.

You go to the gyms and the cardio sections are even bigger than they were 10 years ago. And they do other things that take even longer, like spinning. Some of those classes last 90 minutes!

It’s unfortunate that these well-meaning people are putting all their energy into doing only cardio and endurance training because they’ve been convinced that’s what will keep them healthy.

The reality is, endurance exercise just makes you old before your time.

I don’t want you to end up wearing a brace on every limb as you run yourself to death. That’s why I feel it’s my job to keep talking to you about the world’s only anti-aging fitness program: PACE.

When you exert yourself using the concept of PACE, not only does it NOT age you, but doing PACE can reverse the changes of aging.

For example, 90 minutes of “cardio” spinning will stress and age your body. But spinning can be good if you do it PACE-style. No more than 20 minutes, with peaks and focused rest and recovery in between the peaks.

And most importantly, PACE gives you an anti-aging effect as well.

Take lungpower as just one example. An interesting study looked at runners and their VO2 max over a year’s period. VO2 max measures how fast you can get oxygen into your blood. It’s a good indicator of lungpower and the youth of your lungs. The more oxygen you can get to your body, the younger your body acts.

VO2 max typically declines with age … my fellow doctors insisted that VO2 max was unchangeable. But that’s because they were looking at the wrong thing. The endurance exercises they’ve recommended for 50 years don’t increase power. So of course you can’t improve VO2 max with cardio. You need power, not endurance.

The study found that during the months when the runners ran faster – when they increased the challenge to their lungs – their VO2 max went up. When they just jogged at low intensity, their lungpower shrank.1

Another study put cyclists in Spain on a PACE-like exercise program – short duration, high intensity workouts with recovery periods in between. When tested after only two weeks, the people were able to increase energy uptake into their muscles by over 30%, and had significant increases in VO2 max and exercise power.2

If you want to avoid becoming one of the running dead, and instead get younger lungs that translate into a younger body, I recommend you give the world’s only anti-aging fitness program a try. Here’s a set you can do right now, no gym or special machines necessary.

Start with the modified pushup:

  1. Start in the pushup position but with your knees touching the floor instead of your toes.
  1. Bend your elbows as you lower your chest toward the floor.
  1. Once your elbows are bent about 90 degrees, push back out to the starting position and repeat until you are slightly out of breath.

Progress to the incline pushup:

This is like a regular pushup but a little easier. You can use the back of your sofa, a counter, or even two chairs spread apart.

  1. Get into pushup position with your feet several feet away so that you are at an angle to the floor. Your weight will be on your hands and toes, and your body should form a straight line from your neck to knees.
  1. Lower your chest toward whatever you’re using for support, then push back up to the starting position and repeat until you are breathing harder.

Move on to a regular pushup:

  1. Get into pushup position with your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart or slightly wider and your arms straight. Your hands are in line with your shoulders and your fingers point straight ahead. Your body is aligned from neck to ankles and your feet are hip-width apart. Your weight rests on your hands and toes.
  1. Lower your body until your chest is four inches from the floor, keeping the same alignment.
  1. Push back up to the starting position, with your body staying aligned from neck to ankles. Repeat until you would have difficulty completing a sentence without breathing.

It will take a lot of effort from your legs, core and back to achieve and maintain perfect form. That’s why the pushup is such a great PACE movement. It works most of your body at the same time.

To Your Good Health, Al Sears, MD Al Sears, MD

1. Galbraith A, Hopker J, Cardinale M, Cunniffe B, Passfield L. “A One-Year Study of Endurance Runners: Training, Laboratory and Field Tests.” Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Mar 19. Epub ahead of print. 2.Rodas G, Ventura J, Cadefau J, Cussó R, Parra J. “A short training programme for the rapid improvement of both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.” Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000;82(5-6):480-6.