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Strong Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Middle Age Promotes Longevity, New Study Says

Offering programming that improves your middle-aged club members' cardiorespiratory fitness will help them live longer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Your club members' cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) levels in middle age may predict their life expectancy, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In "Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness and the Long-Term Risk of Mortality," researchers assessed the CRF levels of 5,107 middle-age men over a 46-year period, specifically measuring maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) against mortality rates.

They found, by using a bicycle ergometer, that those in upper five percentile of VO2 max range lived approximately five years longer than those in the lower five percentile.

The study accounted for smoking, alcohol consumption and possible pre-existing diseases, but it did not analyze genetics.

“Genetics are why some people are born endurance athletes while others work so hard at it and still don’t achieve as much,” Sean Heffron, a preventive cardiologist at NYU Langone Health, told Bicycling.com in regard to the study. Heffron also noted that those with high CRF levels likely have healthier lifestyles, which include low stress and smart nutrition.

Heffron told Bicycling.com the 46-year duration of this study is the longest of any he's seen published.

Another study published in June 2018 by The Cooper Institute asserts that maintaining exercise routines can lower proneness to depression and heart disease-related death, particularly as one advances into middle age.

That study states: "Midlife fitness is associated with a lower risk of later-life depression,  mortality, and CVD mortality after incident later-life depression. These findings suggest the importance of midlife fitness in primary prevention of depression and subsequent CVD mortality in older age and should encourage physicians to consider fitness and physical activity in promoting healthy aging."

The Personal Training track at the Club Industry Show (Oct. 24-26, Hilton Chicago) features two sessions on better engaging your senior and middle-aged members. At 12:45 p.m. on Oct. 24, Michael Piercy will present on "Turn Your Clients into Middle-Aged Super Heroes." At 10:45 a.m. on Oct. 26, Suzanne Gray will present on "From Chairs to Pushing Sleds - Senior Fitness: What You Need to Know."

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