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  • Writer's pictureAedra

Want to easily walk up stairs at 75? Better be able to run a 6 minute mile at 25.

If you know me you know I don’t do intense cardio. All of my friends have heard me say “I hate running”. So it will come as a surprise when I decided that I should start running. This is all because I saw that there was a Spartan Race in San Jose -a race where you do obstacles and run, and I wanted to be able to do the race. This is not a race you go into without training. I know that I won’t need much more training to carry heavy things or to do monkey bars, but I would need to train to run between obstacles and to be able to face the 30 burpee penalty if I failed an obstacle on the first try.

So I went on a jog. I live surrounded by steep hills, and within 1 minute my jog turned into a walk. I ended up walking 50% of my 30 minute jog. My calves where on fire and I felt like I couldn’t breath. 10 years ago I could have done the jog without issue. I’m only 30 but those 10 years have shown me how quickly our bodies can decline. Use it or lose it.

I did some digging to understand the ramifications of my lack of cardio fitness. And this is what I discovered. As we age, our ability to take in and use oxygen decreases - and it's not for the better. Depending on your current fitness level, you can estimate what your life will be like in your 70s. For example, if you can barely walk up a hill without breaks in your 30s, you'll be in trouble if you need to climb a flight of stairs in your 70s. If you can barely jog on flat ground in your 40s, walking up a slight incline will be a Herculean effort when you reach 75. Our current movements determine how we'll move and breathe in the future. Check out the graph below to get an idea of where you're headed.

Conclusion: I’m starting to do cardio exercise regularly to ensure that I can do things that matter to me when I’m older.



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