Older Humans Engaging in Intense Exercise is a New Phenomenon
Humans have been afflicted with all of the common aging-associated diseases since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. Yet the founder claims that he is the first to notice that periodic intense exercise will ward off all of those disorders. How is it even remotely possible that no one noticed until now?
First, until quite recently in human history, chronic degenerative diseases were not a common problem. Most everyone died from other causes before the infirmities of aging appeared. And the people most likely not to be killed off by other causes were those in the “leisure class.” In order for the true benefits of intense exercise to appear, it takes an older person who chooses to exercise with intensity on a regular basis. That type of exercise may be instinctive for children, but it is uncomfortable for adults. So it is a highly unlikely mode of behavior for anyone other than someone who is doing it for the health benefits.
Exercising for the purpose of its associated health benefits was first popularized in the 1960s when the jogging craze took hold. The founders of the “aerobics” movement were able to establish a statistical correlation between steady state exercise, like jogging, swimming or cycling, and heart health. Nothing in the Hypothesis is inconsistent with those findings. But it is the position of the Institute that the benefits of steady state exercise tend to obscure the far more significant benefits that are conferred by intense exercise. Nevertheless, until about the end of the 20th century, no one who was exercising for health benefits was doing anything other than steady state exercise.
By definition, steady state exercise and high intensity exercise are incompatible. The goal of steady state exercise is to maintain a steady level of intensity for an extended period of time. That can be done only if one does not exceed the lactate threshold, because it becomes impossible to continue the same level of intensity once that threshold has been exceeded. The Hypothesis defines intense exercise to be exercise at an intensity level that exceeds the lactate threshold, because it is the increased levels of lactate (and the other components of Complex X) that activate the Growth Process. In fact, it is the activation of the Growth Process itself, as opposed to the increase in exercise intensity, that causes the sudden dramatic increase in carbon dioxide production that leads to the hyperventilation that makes it impossible for exercisers to continue at that intensity level.
Until relatively recently, no one believed that doing high intensity exercise on a regular basis was beneficial either for health or for athletic performance. In 1996, Professor Izumi Tabata published the first article that suggested that high intensity intermittent exercise would have beneficial effects for high performance athletes. High intensity exercise is now a common modality for young, elite athletes seeking to improve athletic performance, but it is still a rarity for older people and non-elite athletes.
Any exercise program comes with the automatic disclaimer that anyone considering beginning an exercise program should first consult with a doctor. Conventional medical practice has always been to advise patients to exercise only in moderation, avoid overexertion, slow down as you get older, etc. So, any older person who exercises with intensity is doing so in contradiction of the advice of his or her doctor.
The reality is that even today, very few older people engage in intense exercise on a regular basis. Moreover, although anyone engaging in intense exercise will show some benefits almost immediately, there is a delayed reaction that is dependent upon how much FDS the subject has suffered. FDS affects all human organs, systems and processes. The Growth Process is a process that is negatively affected by FDS. For example, older people with advanced FDS have suffered significant damage to their pituitary gland. Each time such a person activates the Growth Process, the pituitary gland will be restored to some extent. But because his or her pituitary gland has deteriorated, an older person with severe FDS is not going to be able to produce much HGH until that person has been doing intense exercise on a regular basis for an extended period of time.
Since an older person would have to engage in intense physical activity for an extended period of time in order to restore the ability to fully activate the Growth Process, a short-term randomized controlled trial (RCT) to demonstrate the effects of high intensity exercise on older persons who are suffering from advanced FDS is impracticable. But that does not change the underlying reality. Older persons who have managed to engage in intense physical activity for an extended period of time do regain the ability to fully activate the Growth Process.
There are other practical reasons why we have not yet seen large numbers of older people who have succeeded in restoring functionality through intense exercise. Intense exercise is intense. Although some intense exercise programs tolerate older participants, those programs are not designed to accommodate their potential limitations. Even young participants tend to sustain injuries. Older persons tend to have less range of motion and are burdened with certain other limitations that make them even more susceptible to injury. Thus, older participants are even less likely to be able to maintain intense programs for extended periods of time.
So the founder is one of the first older people in the history of the world who has been able to maintain a regular intense exercise program over an extended period of time.