DAYP 37: Harder to breathe during physical activity as you age

Here’s what’s on the healthspan menu today:

  • Harder to breathe during physical activity as you age
  • Circadian clock influences tumor progression
  • Potential benefits of 16/8 intermittent fasting window

Harder to breathe during physical activity as you age

Does it seem like for physical activity, like climbing stairs, it’s harder to breathe now than when you were younger? There might be a scientific reason.

You might think lung function, the amount of air you can move with each breath, gets worse as you age due to more wear and tear on your body. 

This is partly true. Our lungs are filled with millions of tiny little balloons that inflate and deflate as we breathe. 

As you get older, these balloons go through many cycles and become less stretchy. This means you have to breathe more often to move the same amount of air.

However, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to improve your lung and breathing function.

By exercising you train your muscles to be more efficient at using oxygen. This means you can do the same amount of work, but with less oxygen, which makes you less winded.

This stresses the importance of continuing to exercise and doing physical activity as you age as it will help you get through life a lot more comfortably.

Circadian clock influences tumor progression

A recent UC Irvine-led study has found a connection between the disruption of your body’s circadian clock and the growth of certain tumors.

The researchers found that when your biological clock is disrupted through night shift work, changes in wake and sleep patterns, and different eating patterns, it contributes to the mutation of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), a tumor suppressor. These mutations are found in 80% of human colorectal cancers. 

Researchers believe this disruption in circadian rhythm partially explains the increase in younger people getting cancers, like colorectal cancer, that normally only affected older populations. 

Potential benefits of 16/8 intermittent fasting window

One study has shown in mice that a 16-hour fasting window with an 8-hour eating window had beneficial effects on body composition.

In the study, mice were divided into 2 groups. One group with an 8-hour eating window and the other group could eat whenever they wanted. Researchers controlled the type of food and the total number of calories for both groups.

They found the mice who ate whenever they wanted to gain weight, while the fasting group did not. To further study the differences between the 2 groups they then studied each group’s stool samples. 

They found big differences between the 2 groups’ gut microbiome. This finding suggests timing when food is eaten affects our microbiome and plays a role in body weight changes.

Granted, this only applies to mice but offers a potential mechanism into how intermittent fasting works for many in controlling their weight.

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