The BEST Thing for Health: Exercise

Nothing exudes vitality and vigor as a slim, strong, fit body. With all of the anti aging treatments, supplements, hormones and other modalities, exercise is the best prescription for overall health. Different types have various effects and I recommend a well-rounded program using the acronym BE SAFE for Balance, Endurance (aerobic), Strength and Flexibility Exercise.

What makes exercise so special?

Exercise modulates hormones, neurotransmitters, blood flow, muscular strength and energy and has profound effects on mind and body.

  • Hormones such as cortisol, the stress hormone that breaks down muscle and bone and packs on fat, can be lowered by yoga, meditation, moderate aerobic exercise, and stretching. Heavy weight lifting can elevate testosterone in men and interval training (bursts of full out activity) can elevate growth hormone. Insulin resistance that leads to diabetes and other degenerative diseases can be decreased with regular physical activity.
  • Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that act on nerve cells. They communicate with your nervous system. Some excite and others calm. They regulate mood, attention, movement and more. Exercise can release feel good endorphins that decrease the sensation of pain and is responsible for “runner’s high.” Exercise balances the excitatory sympathetic and calming parasympathetic nervous system. Adrenaline excites and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) calms. Too much sympathetic activity raises blood pressure, heart rate and contributes to anxiety and irritability. Exercise balances these neurotransmitters.
  • Blood flow to vital organs and tissues is essential to bring oxygen and nutrients for cell regeneration and repair as well as remove waste. Exercise lowers artery clogging cholesterol, keeps arteries open and flexible, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and improves the function and integrity of the cells that line your arteries know as the endothelium. It does this by making nitric oxide a substance that opens, relaxes and protects your arteries and decreases the formation of plaque that clogs arteries.
  • Balance and strength are important to avoid injury and falls as well as to preserve muscle and bone mass. It’s never too late to start a program. Muscle mass burns calories and is essential for weight loss as well as maintaining mobility and strength to perform normal activity.

What are the benefits of regular exercise?

Exercise has been found to both prevent and treat many common ailments such as:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Death
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Disability
  • Falls
  • Fractures
  • Kidney Function
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Respiratory function

How much is enough?

The amount and type of exercise to prevent or reverse illness depends on your goals. It is beneficial to get a thorough evaluation of your strength, flexibility, balance, reaction time and aerobic capacity to determine what your specific needs are. However the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association guidelines are as follows:

  • 5 days a week of moderate intensity cardiovascular activities and 2 additional days of strength training.
  • The duration of aerobic activity varies according to your goal as follows:
    • General Health Benefits – 30 minutes
    • Avoid Weight Gain – 30 -50 minutes
    • Weight Loss – 45-84 minutes
    • Prevent Weight Regain after loss – 40-60 minutes

It’s important to choose an activity that you enjoy so you will stick with it. So put on your walking shoes and get moving to reap the anti aging and health benefits of exercise.

Are you someone looking for better health or prevention? Perhaps, I can help. Contact me for a medical in person or coaching telephonic consultation.

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