Too many people have the wrong idea of exercise. Their exercise consist of jumping to conclusions, running up bills, crunching charge cards, swimming in debt, stretching the truth, bending over backwards, lying down on the job, side stepping responsibility and pushing their luck. Others feel, if it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the fridge are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all. If this is your idea of exercise or physical activity, because you just don’t have the time, I want to let you in on a secret. Those who think they have no time for physical activities will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Also these so called physical activities don’t lead to a treasure chest of health, instead to a life full of stress, anxiety and inflammation.
Lets examine the role of inflammation. Inflammation plays a central role in healing. When it’s good, it fights off foreign invaders, heals injuries and mops up debris. But when it’s bad, inflammation ignites a long list of disorders. Inflammation can travel throughout the body and cause problems all over. Over time, chronic inflammation can trigger your immune system to attack healthy tissue and organs in your body. When left untreated, prolonged chronic inflammation can increase your risk for disease like, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness and cancer. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. It’s important to take brain inflammation seriously because it can rapidly degenerate the brain, raising the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain degenerative disease. When you see”itis” at the end of a condition, it means inflammation such as encephalitis, appendicitis, arthritis, colitis, bronchitis, hepatitis and cystitis. There is more, much more but I think you get the point. Inflammation can be very nasty.
Now, it’s time to put exercise under the microscope. Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom. And, with any kingdom, in order to safe guard its treasure (health) you must guard and work at it continuously.
Lets explore some of the jewels or benefits found in the treasure chest of health.
Exercise possesses many different jewels or benefits for health. Recently, research at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found how just one session of moderate exercise can also act as a anti-inflammatory. The brain and sympathetic nervous system, a pathway that serves to accelerate heart rate and raise blood pressure, among other things, are activated during exercise to enable the body to carry out work. Hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, are released into the blood stream and trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells produces. This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses. The study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF. Exercise is also known to reduce a number of inflammatory markers, like c-reactive protein and interleukin-6, which are linked to a number of diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise are likely one of the underpinnings of its effects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, neurodegenerative conditions and more.
Another jewel or benefit of exercise. The American Heart Association started the country’s first set of exercise guidelines in 1972. And it’s not hard to envision why exercise helps the heart. If you’re physically active, your heart gets trained to beat slower and stronger, so it needs less oxygen to function well, your arteries get springier, so they push your blood along better, and your levels of good HDL cholesterol go up. It’s also not much of a surprise that physical activity helps prevent diabetes. Muscles that are used to working stay more receptive to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar into cells, so in fit individuals blood sugar levels aren’t as likely to creep up.
Exercise can also trigger the growth of new brain cells. Neuroscientists used to believe the brain was the only organ incapable of growing new cells which partly makes sense, since we need our brains to be relatively stable over time, to keep our memories intact and to keep us us. But, in recent years its become clear that the brain, too, can grow new neurons, in a process called neurogenesis. And what seems to spur the growth of new neurons, perhaps above other activities, is aerobic exercise. The area of the brain that seems most capable of growing new cells is the hippocampus, the seat of learning and memory. It’s also the area that’s known to shrink in depression, and particularly in dementia, so the fact that we may have some control over our health is very promising.
Exercise has many more benefits. It’s known to slow the aging process, improve mood, makes us more resilient to stress, improve social skills, give us better sleep and improve our memory.
Food for thought:
The act of getting strong doesn’t start in the gym, it starts in your head.
Fitness is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.
Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse.
Not only will exercise make you look fantastic, but it will make you feel that way too.
The best fashion statement is a fit, healthy body.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it’s the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
Exercise plays a vital role in my life. The way I keep at it is to do things I truly enjoy, like biking, hiking, walking, golfing, camping, Tai Chi, and swimming. If you can find something that you enjoy doing and it is physical activity, you’ve killed two birds with one stone ( forgive the reference to killing birds) but you get the point. Go for it, the benefits of exercise are simply amazing. Talk to you soon, stay healthy and safe.