Lung power is the number-one predictor of how long you’ll live. How well you breathe determines how long you’ll stay active and healthy.
The medical journal Chest did a 29-year follow up to the Buffalo Health Study, which followed over 1,100 people up to age 89. They found that the better your lungs work, the less likely you are to die of any cause. The correlation was even stronger for heart disease.1
This makes me wonder about all those workout “gurus.” They keep telling you to do “cardio” which only wears down your heart and lungs. The studies prove that lungpower – not wearing down your heart with hours of aerobics – will keep you going.
Most doctors aren’t aware of this, either. They don’t bother to measure your lung power during a doctor visit. Yet it’s easy to do, and I measure it at my clinic.
The best way to tell how powerful your lungs are is a measurement called VO2 max.
That’s because VO2 max measures the amount of oxygen your lungs can use while you’re exercising at your maximum capacity. And the more oxygen you can get to your body, the better your body works.
VO2 max is usually written in milliliters of volume per kilograms of body weight (ml/kg) because oxygen and energy needs are different depending on how big you are.
The chart to the right shows typical VO2 max measurements for non-athletes.
Notice that VO2 max typically declines with age. But you don’t have to let it. In fact, this is one of the things I’m really excited about being able to do with my new anti-aging and wellness center.
Have you heard about it? My goal is to make 100 years old the new 50.
What we’re going to do is take a total measurement of what we call your Body Intelligence. We’ll find out how strong your bones are, your muscle strength, your capacity to squelch inflammation…
We’ll take all that information and give you a Body IQ score. A higher body IQ means you’ll be able to do more, and have the same freedom and choices when you’re 100 that you have when you’re 50.
I’m going to show you how to raise your Body Intelligence by increasing your VO2 max starting today. This will help you build a younger, disease-proof body. I’m also going to show you the only nutrient that increases VO2 max.
But it starts with your lungs.
Lung power is about working harder, not longer.
The American Journal of Epidemiology looked at respondents from the famous Harvard Health study, which followed over 13,000 people for 15 years. They found that people live longer if they do vigorous exercises, but not if they only do light or moderate workouts.2
And the risk of death kept getting lower and lower not for those who expended energy for the longest time, but who expended the most energy. In other words, intensity is the key to lowering the likelihood of death.
This is why, for example, elite marathon runners have lower VO2 max scores than Nordic skiers.
Have a look at these two photos:
The Nordic skier on the left has powerful leg muscles, a broad chest and hugely powerful lungs. The marathon runner on the right has a sunken chest and skinny legs.
Running shrinks down your lungs for efficiency because it’s a moderate workout. You need constant but low amounts of energy. That doesn’t build lung power.
Nordic skiing is much more intense. Skiers expend huge amounts of energy pumping their legs and arms for thrust, as do sprinters. This kind of exertion builds real power and increases your lung capacity.
And that’s why I talk to you about my PACE program all the time. With PACE, you can increase your VO2 max, giving you the lung power of a much younger person. This will increase your Body Intelligence and help you to live younger, longer.
But as you can see from the photos above, it won’t happen by jogging for hours and hours.
The best way to give your lungs the intense workout they need in order to grow bigger and increase your VO2 max is to progressively challenge your peak intensity. And that’s what PACE does. PACE stands for Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion.
You start slowly, and little by little, you increase the challenge to your lungs until they’re working decades younger.
For example, if you like to run, here’s how you might do it PACE-style:
If you’re in good condition, you can start your first exertion period by running an eighth of a mile (220 yards). Your intensity level should be moderate. After each recovery period, slightly increase the intensity. By the time you reach your 6th exertion period, you should be sprinting.
And here’s where PACE is different.
1. The recovery time is as important as the exertion period. Recover fully between each set. This recovery time should decrease as your lungs get stronger and your VO2 max increases.
What you’ll notice is that you’re panting less between each set.
The reason is that as your VO2 max increases, you’re delivering more oxygen to your body with each breath. You won’t have to breathe as hard or as fast for very long because your lungs are working so well.
2. After a couple of weeks, you decrease the period of exertion and increase the intensity. In other words, you don’t run for a longer amount of time like all those modern fitness experts tell you to. You run harder.
This works because when your body gets used to a particular challenge, it’s no longer challenging. At that point you stop progressing. You will then hit a “plateau” spending more time doing the same work, but no longer moving forward. From a fitness improvement point of view, nothing is happening.
At this stage, you’ll need to change gears and do something differently. By varying your workout, you’ll give yourself new challenges as the old ones become tired and predictable. In this way, PACE is never a chore; it’s always new and exciting.
Another thing that’s new and exciting is a recent discovery…
Quercetin can increase your VO2 max.
Quercetin is a flavonoid (flavonoids are antioxidants in plants) that you can get from onions, apples, berries, grapes and red wine. We know a lot about the benefits of quercetin. It’s anti-inflammatory, and it’s also a natural antihistamine.
Because of its positive effects on lung function, researchers at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina tested quercetin to see if it would increase lung power and delay fatigue.
They took healthy but untrained people and tested their VO2 max and the time it took them to tire out while riding. Then they split them in two groups. One got 500 mg of quercetin twice a day and the other got a placebo.
After seven days, they tested the people again. The quercetin group had increased VO2 max by 3.9 percent without doing anything else. And their performance increased by an incredible 13.2 percent!
Not that I would recommend this, but just for the sake of making a comparison, let’s say you ran in the Boston Marathon last year, and you finished with your best time ever of 4 hours and 10 minutes.
If you could improve your performance by 13 percent, you would finish the race this year in about 3 hours and 37 minutes, shattering your previous best time by over a half hour!
Quercetin can also increase your power output when you exercise.
A study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition looked at the performance of elite cyclists. Researchers put the cyclists through a time trial to get their baseline results.
Over the next six weeks, they gave half the cyclists a vitamin formula with quercetin, and half got a formula with no quercetin.
When the cyclists were tested again, the ones taking quercetin had increased their VO2 max by 3.7 percent, improved their speed significantly and increased their power by 10 percent! Their power increased so much that they were able to finish the trial faster even though they were pedaling fewer times per minute.3
This is one of the reasons I added quercetin to my new energy formula that complements the PACE program.
You can get quercetin in a variety of foods. Some of my favorites include:
- • Apples
• Citrus Fruit
• Leafy Green Vegetables
• Red Grapes
Plants of the allium family also have quercetin, including onions, scallions, chives, leeks, shallots and garlic.
To boost your VO2 max and your Body Intelligence, you can take quercetin in supplement form. I recommend a 500 mg capsule twice a day.
Al Sears MD – Live a healthier life with natural remedies and natural cures to help you prevent disease. Take control of your health and wellness now!
1 Schünemann, Holger J., MD, PhD et al, “Pulmonary Function Is a Long-term Predictor of Mortality in the General Population,” Chest Sept. 2000; 118( 3): 656-664
2 Lee, I-Min, Paffenbarger, Ralph S. Jr., “Associations of Light, Moderate, and Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity with Longevity,” American Journal of Epidemiology 2000; 151( 3)
3 Holden, S.H., MacRae, Mefferd, Kari, “Dietary Antioxidant SupplementationCombined with Quercetin Improves Cycling Time Trial Performance,” Intl. Jnl. Sport Nutrn. and Ex. Met. 2006; 16: 405-419