VO2max as a measure of health and aging
So with the help of the Apple watch I've been watching my VO2max, which without electronics is a little tricky to estimate as you had to accurately measure your heart beat, which is hard after running full out. This is an important measurement for athletes as it tells what kind of performance you can do on the track. Basically AFAIK it's a measure of cardiopulmonary health and is the efficiency at which you get get oxygen into your bloodstream.
So mine has been coming out at a level consistent with a college athlete (I've also seen it described as that of a teenager). I've checked it with some online calculators from research groups and get same. Thing is I'm 52. Why would it be this good? I've examined the possible reasons
- Exercise. I've been a lifelong exerciser, but it's always been mild as I don't really like to exercise. Just running 3 times a week for a few miles each time, plus now I do indoor cycling and Pilates. With this kind of workout I don't deserve this number. Further I run with a buddy who is a crazy exerciser, and he comments on how I am chatting away the entire time we run, which he can't do. He runs much more than me, there's no way I'd have this result from exercise.
- Genetics. Ah ha! surely I have some special gene. Well actually I've done my genome and the only two relevant genes I've found are actually negatives. One is an error in a enzyme for lung and liver repair, the counselor was quite concerned about this one. Add to it my mother died in her 80's from breathing issues (she was a life long single cigarette per day smoker). The counselor hypothesized that my mother might have done better if not for perhaps having the defect. The other is MTHFR which can have negative effects here too. No genes I can see for super cardio, and in fact no relatives that have this capability.
- Diet, Supplements, fasting & lifestyle. Life long whole foods vegan, supplementation about the same as Kurzweil takes and in the last five years twice a year one week water only fast. Otherwise I'm a relaxed guy, meditate and play classical piano every day.
I have to think that the only possible conclusion is that by lifestyle alone I have a VO2max that athletes crave. The truly elite athletes have even higher numbers, but they have to wreck their health and longevity to get them. But I apparently was able to get same with some paltry exercise and simple lifestyle changes. Now the interesting thing is that the rest of my measures are perfect - BMI, blood work, etc, but that's a little different. I mean having a homocysteine of 8 just means you have a good homocysteine, it doesn't give you an indication of biological age as VO2max appears to do.
FWIW, I hope this doesn't come across like bragging and I'm not looking for pats on the back, but I keep puzzling about the result. Ultimately I think this is one clear and definable proof of the power of lifestyle on biological age, and would encourage everybody to take do everything they can in their lifestyle including the diet, suppls and so forth.