It’s a common assumption – as you grow older your fitness level declines particularly after age 50. Well, a French centenarian has shown that even after age 100, a person can increase their VO2 (i.e. maximal oxygen consumption) which refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. This measurement is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. Over two year period, by increasing the intensity of his training regimen (about 80% easy and 20% intense), Robert Marchand was able to actually improve his overall fitness including his VO2 max which increased by about 13%. His aerobic capacity was determined to be comparable to a healthy 50 year old! He also managed to set a world record in one-hour cycling – not bad for age 105.
While Robert Marchand’s anecdotal success is certainly unique, hopefully it will inspire others. Exercise is well known to be important – but make sure at least some regular part of it is intense.