I sometimes hear a patient say, “I hate exercise” or “I hate to sweat”. That is so sad to hear as it goes hand and hand with, “I hate vegetables, water and sleep”. These are the critical ingredients for a healthy body. The person who exercises regularly is akin to putting on body armor that protect you from diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers. Exercise is not simply a way to burn a few calories. When we exercise, we are putting in place hundreds of unique biochemical reactions that trigger our body to stay young, repair, and excel.
Here is just a short list of the benefits of exercise:
- Bone: Exercise stimulates bone health by triggering osteoblast activity to make bones stronger thus preventing osteoporosis
- Stress: Exercise reduces stress hormones helping us to feel calmer. It makes our brain more resilient to the effects of stress.
- Brain: Exercise stimulates the production of an important brain protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that helps repair our brain from the effects of oxidative stress and reduce the risk of degenerative brain diseases.
- Detox: Exercise with intensity induces sweat, which clears toxins from our body through the skin.
- Heart: Exercise increases heart health by enhancing pump efficiency and stimulating new blood vessels to form. Enhanced cardiovascular conditioning and lung function.
- Blood pressure: Exercise reduce blood pressure, it does NOT elevate it.
- Blood sugar: Exercise helps our insulin receptor work more efficiently thus reducing our chances of developing diabetes and healthy muscle reduces blood sugar.
- Sleep: Studies prove that exercise increases our depth and quality of sleep.
- Brain: Exercise increases oxygen delivery to brain tissue allowing us to have greater mental stamina, more creativity of thought and promote greater problem-solving ability.
- Weight: Exercise forces our muscle to become more efficient at burning fat as fuel. Intense exercise stimulates fat burning at rest all day long.
OK, so you already knew that exercise was “good” so what is holding you back from engaging more consistently? Myths? Don’t know where to start? There are hundreds of false myths that stop people from engaging exercise. Let’s erase a few of them:
- I have to exercise an hour every day to have any impact. WRONG
- Exercising as little as 20 minutes 3 days per week can be an excellent start. Any amount of exercise for any length of time has benefit.
- I have arthritis therefore I can’t jog/run. WRONG
- Inactivity is worse for arthritis than any form of exercise. You may not want to run but you do elliptical, rowing, swimming, Pilates, yoga which are all great for arthritic joints.
- I don’t know how to exercise. That's easy.
- LEARN. With digital tools like YouTube and with a trainer or gym on every street corner it’s so easy to start. There are even online LIVE trainers that will instruct you in your own home using whatever equipment you have or with no equipment at all.
For those of you deep into your sport or exercise challenges I know you too have questions. Power sports versus endurance sports each have their particular needs and issues. We will explore topics for you such as:
- Zone 2 training – how and when to utilize this tool. What’s the benefit?
- High intensity intervals – different approaches and understanding when not to.
- Best Fuel – this is a big one. All sugar all the time is not a great idea and we will explore why, and better options. Carb loading is a double edged sword.
- Acceleration – getting the most out of your potential.
- Recovery is key – how to best support the body’s ability to heal.
No matter what stage of life you are in or what degree of health you own, exercise can only enhance your life. Let this library take you into a deeper understanding so that you can engage at the level that suits your specific needs.