Functional Age and Its Importance
In recent days, we have seen more inquiries and increased demand for information about monitoring and displaying the Functional Age within mySASY. Both when communicating with current / potential clients, and from the analysis of interest in individual features that we follow on our website.
We appreciate the proactive approach and understand the increased interest, so we want to help at least by describing and clarifying this topic. The current version of our system is focused primarily on the sporting population, and therefore we did not attach the dominant importance to the principle of the presentation of the Functional Age and its closer interpretation. In this situation, however, we consider it appropriate to publish the most serious information on the subject. This way everyone can assess whether the time is right for them to begin to consider the issue more significantly.
For better orientation in this topic it is necessary to explain / repeat some technical terms and facts. mySASY system evaluates the long-term and current state of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) using spectral analysis of heart rate variability (SA HRV). The task of ANS is to maintain the stability of the internal environment of the organism (homeostasis) and thus to resist all influences coming from the external environment.
Today, there is a clear scientific consensus that says:
- homeostasis is a basic condition for a healthy life and with increasing age the ability to maintain it, known as “homeostatic capacity”, decreases
- changes of homeostasis are manifested, for example, by problems with maintaining optimal blood pressure, optimal blood sugar levels, decreased immunity, etc.
- our health care is primarily focused on helping to regulate lost homeostasis (eg one-time adjustment of blood pressure, sugar level,…), it does not address the long-term sustainable “homeostatic capacity”, which will prolong the long-term ability to maintain optimal regulatory abilities = not only calendar), but above all the length of QUALITY life.
HRV is considered to be an optimally usable biomarker of "homeostatic capacity" because:
- HRV can be measured independently, non-invasively and safely, using optimal procedures even at home and is a globally recognized worldwide diagnostic tool
- a number of diseases associated with aging are accompanied by worsened HRV results
- chronic stress, which has been shown to increase the incidence of aging-related diseases and mortality, is accompanied by worsened HRV
- processes that slow down aging-related illnesses, reduce mortality, and improve quality of life, such as physical activity, sleep, quitting smoking, or weight loss, are shown to be accompanied by an improvement in HRV
(for more info eg: http://paloaltoprize.com/prize-two)
Based on these facts, it can be considered that under fully physiological conditions age is the strongest variable affecting the condition of ANS and hence HRV. As a result, mySASY, thanks to its own population standard, is able to show what age group = WHAT FUNCTIONAL AGE corresponds with the currently measured SA HRV values.
In practice, however, this means that in the event of a severe one-time disruption of homeostasis, e.g. after a very strong training load, the value of the Functional Age may increase significantly. On the other hand, exceptionally increased compensation may result in a one time significant decrease. It is not a mistake! Indeed, at that moment, the management of homeostasis of the internal environment corresponds to the identified, albeit often different, age. Yes, after a heavy load, the organism's immunity and the associated resistance to environmental influences are also TEMPORARILY reduced.
If you want to use mySASY to answer your question about your STABLE / more long-term Functional Age, it is best to use the longer-term average of the values of the currently measured functional ages over a longer period. Ideally, you can calculate, for example, the average of the 15 measurements taken while determining your Training Profile. Even this calculation is performed automatically in mySASY (since mySASY was originally developed exclusively for athletes), however, it is somewhat hidden :) (see Figures 1 and 2). Given the current interest, its visibility and better presentation will surely be part of the system's upcoming improvements.
Figure 1 - Regularly, optimally training manager
Figure 2 Individual with markedly impaired adaptation (homeostatic) capacity
We believe that once the current situation calms down and we look for ways to learn from past events, we will also find that active care for one's own fitness and health is of greater value than we believe during the periods of “peace, wealth and prosperity”.
Functional Age can be one of the tools that can help us to see if our activities and priorities are going in the right direction.
We wish everyone good health in the coming days.
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