At the Langdon Center we specialize in improving our patients’ appearance through cosmetic surgery and body-sculpting procedures such as liposuction and CoolSculpting. We are also interested in our patients’ overall health (see our print newsletter for timely articles on this topic). Dr. Langdon has found that healthier patients show the most improvement after cosmetic procedures and are the happiest with their results. Liposuction patients are told that they should lose weight after their procedure at least equivalent to the amount of fat that was removed. Losing additional weight after liposuction or CoolSculpting has a strong synergistic effect and significantly enhances the contouring results from the procedure.
Weight loss results from improved diet and exercise and is a sign of physical fitness or conditioning. Overall fitness not only makes people look and feel better but also reduces the risk of most major diseases and increases longevity (life span). How do you know how fit you are? The most comprehensive measure of fitness is the body’s capacity to take up and to use oxygen during exercise. A “stress test” on a treadmill can assess a person’s maximal heart rate and analysis of breathing can detect how much oxygen is transported from the lungs to the body. VO2Max is the maximum volume of oxygen that a person can absorb and utilize and is determined by the fitness of their heart and lungs as well as circulatory capacity of their blood vessels, muscle mass and muscle conditioning. VO2Max is the best measurement of one’s fitness and is an important indicator of overall health.
Researchers from Norway have documented the importance of VO2Max in predicting life span by studying thousands of people over a period of years. They developed the concept of “fitness age” after noting that average VO2Max decreases with age, partly because most people become more sedentary as they get older. It is possible to have a fitness age that is much less (or more) than your actual chronological age, depending on your physical condition. Fitness age is largely determined by VO2Max but also takes into account factors such as height and weight, waist size, resting heart rate and exercise intensity and frequency. The Norwegian scientists have posted a simple online calculator that you can use to determine your own fitness age and VO2Max. They have validated the accuracy of this questionnaire in thousands of subjects who underwent treadmill tests to determine actual VO2Max.
Strong evidence indicates that fitness age is the single best predictor of life span because it incorporates multiple important health and lifestyle parameters including exercise, diet and cardiovascular endurance. You cannot change your chronological age (without a time machine!), but you can definitely lower your fitness age and increase your life expectancy!