PERF board member Dr. Harry Rossiter was interviewed recently by the American Health Journal about his research at LA BioMed on exercise physiology. Dr. Rossiter is studying how the energy powerhouses of the muscle, the mitochondria, relate to physical exercise and to quality of health.
Mitochondria’s Role In Fitness
The three pillars of health, he says, are nutrition, sleep, and physical activity. But what is it about physical activity, he asks, that allows us to have better health? Mitochondria, little organelles inside the cells of your muscles, may help provide the answer. Your body is designed to feed fuel and oxygen to your mitochondria, which then deliver energy to the cells of your muscles. People who are very fit have a lot of mitochondria in their muscles, and therefore their muscles, when supplied well with fuel and oxygen and energy, work efficiently. People who are not so fit have fewer mitochondria and therefore weaker muscles. People who have stronger muscles are generally more fit, have better health, and tend to live longer.
Mitochondria In the Muscle Cells of COPD Patients
Dr. Rossiter’s research involves measuring the amount and quality of mitochondria in the muscle, particularly in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He is able to do this using innovative techniques that do not require getting a sample of the muscle. In a recent study of 200 patients with severe COPD, it was found that their muscles have 30% fewer mitochondria than the average person.
Exercise to Increase the Mitochondria In Your Muscles
The good news is that the mitochondria in your muscles can increase if you increase the amount that you exercise.
So how much exercise should we get? The recommended amount of physical activity for most adults is 150 minutes of exercise per week, which breaks down to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This recommendation is for health maintenance, notes Dr. Rossiter. If your goal is to increase your fitness level, he recommends that you exercise more than 150 minutes per week.
Dr. Rossiter’s advice to COPD patients? Enroll in a gym membership, and use the gym. Commit to being active every day. Exercise will improve the number of mitochondria in your muscle cells, enabling them to work for you more efficiently, which may help to improve overall health, prevent COPD exacerbations, and reduce your chances of needing hospitalization.
Click below to watch Dr. Rossiter’s interview on mitochondria and fitness. (Start at 22:21 in the video.)