Exercise: The Gift That Just Keeps GivingNov 9, 2018
We all know exercise is good for you. It strengthens and builds your muscles, helps you lose weight and sweat toxins out of your body. But did you know that exercise can also boost your immune system, reduce stress, delay brain aging, increase memory retention, effect the way you think and more? This is a powerful practice that when performed on a regular basis can greatly improve and preserve your overall health and wellness!
Whether you want to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger or just live to be 100 years old, exercise can be your path to success! That's right, exercise and working out isn't just for the gym rat, meat heads out there. It should be an essential part of everyones daily lifestyle. After all, lack of exercise is responsible for twice as many early deaths as obesity! That should be enough to add at least 20 mins of exercise to anyones daily routine.
For those you think you are not able to exercise or that it may hurt you because of medical conditions such as asthma and arthritis, exercise may actually help! Of the millions of people that suffer from asthma, many report having poor control of their symptoms. New research may hold the key to controlling and elevating these symptoms, which involves 30 minutes of exercise a day, year round!
If you have aches and pains from arthritis, you are in luck too! This inflammatory disease sneaks up on its victims slowly but surely. Attacking the fingers, toes and other joints, making them stiff and painful. This can destroy your joints, causing weakness and loss of movement. But have no fear, exercise is here to help once again! Research has shown that high intensity training helps ease arthritis pains.
One of the most common pains or impingements that plague our communities is "low back pain" or LBP. This is a painful condition effecting the lower portion of the spine is caused by injury to a muscle or ligament. Most of the time this is a result of improper lifting, poor posture, a fracture, ruptured disk or arthritis. Which can all be prevented with regular exercise!
Exercise or lack of exercise doesn't only effect the physical body in terms of muscles, bones and joints, but also effects our gut health, promotes brain health and metabolism. The human gut is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms, which researchers have discovered can be altered early in life by exercise. This microbial community is changed for the better, promoting healthier metabolic activity over the course of a lifetime.
This gift just keeps giving! Even down to a cellular level! A study published March 7, 2017 in Cell Metabolism found that exercise, specifically high-intensity interval training in aerobic exercises such as biking and walking, caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, effectively stopping aging at the cellular level. No wonder you can't guess the age of people at the gym!
Beyond the cellular level, exercise can also help slow the aging of the brain! This is due to the fact that exercise increases blood flow to areas of the body including the brain. The brain powers of exercise don't end there either! Neurogenesis is the self-repairing mechanism of the adult brain that can help preserve brain function in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. A repair mechanism which is induced by exercise!
This protective power isn't just for those with neurodegenerative diseases. Aerobic exercise has been shown to preserve brain volume and improve cognition in those who exercised four times a week over a six-month period. Combined with the evidence that physical exercise prevents dementia, it seems like an easy way to maintain and preserve the health of your brain!
While this preservation of the brain seems essential, boosting it's abilities sound even more enticing! Research shows that 30 minutes of moderate exercise improves your short-term memory. This is interesting because the neurogenesis that is induced by exercise, creates new brain cells, which play an important role in learning and memory, including long-term memory. Making exercise an excellent brain booster!
Boosting your brain power is great and all, but changing your mood may be even more important sometimes. Especially for the over 3 million Americans diagnosed with depression each year. This is a mental health disorder that is characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Luckily, studies suggest that certain people with depression may benefit from exercise!
Not only can exercise help in treating depression, it can also prevent people from becoming depressed again! This is why maintaining an exercise regime even after your depression symptoms get better is so important. Exercise increases serotonin, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep, appetite and grow neurons. An increase that can be amplified for even greater benefits when exercising outdoors!
Now, while you are planning out your holiday gifts this year. Think about the greatest gift of all, the gift of a healthy life. A gift that no one can give you, but you yourself. Think about how you want to limit your aches and pains or even prevent them. Think about the ability to fight off brain aging, dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Think about the increase in cognitive function. The brain boost in memory power. Think about exercise!