Exercise - if you don't use it you lose it
Physical exercise is vital for long-term health and longevity. One important reason for exercising physically is because inability to get fit is an early warning symptom of disease. If you can't get fit, then something is wrong. Be mindful that as we age, we lose some fitness simply because we lose cells. Mitochondria control the ageing process and they do so by apoptosis - they literally commit cell suicide when their metabolism slows down too much.
There are different types of exercise for particular issues. Many people hate exercise and therefore need to exercise in the most time- and energy-efficient way!
- Exercise - the right sort - this is the minimum that everyone should be doing! 12 minutes a week, with home-made equipment, is all that is necessary for full cardiovascular fitness and strength as determined by numbers of mitochondria.
- Exercise for pleasure - exercise releases happy neurotransmitters called endorphins; it also allows us to enjoy the outside world, socialise and function as normal human beings!
- Exercise to generate heat is a good way to detoxify by mobilising toxins onto the skin which can then be washed off. If you need to detox, but hate exercise, then a sauna does just as good a job! When I do fat-biopsies on patients, I invariably find a range of pesticides and volatile organic compounds, and my view is that in a modern polluted world we should all be doing detox regimes to keep these as low as possible. Exercise is ideal, but if you are unable to exercise, then go for weekly sauna or far infra-red saunaing. Sunshine is an excellent source of FIR so long as you do not burn your skin with the ultraviolet.
Benefits of being fit
- Protection against heart-disease - because it keeps the heart fit and lowers blood-pressure and slows the pulse. Athletes in top training have a resting pulse of less than 40 beats per minute and a resting blood-pressure of 80/40! If you can't get fit, then it suggests you have a problems which needs investigating.
- Protection from osteoporosis - because it keeps "working" the bones which lay down more bone to cope with this work
- Prevents depression - exercise increases levels of endorphins in the brain (the "happy hormones"). Some people actually get hooked on the buzz from intense exercise and must exercise daily to be psychologically well.
- Stops obesity - Exercise - the right sort increases insulin-sensitivity and stimulates hormone-sensitive lipase which in turn mobilises fats. This is essential for many dieters who have got stuck! Exercise increases muscle bulk (only 12 mins a week!) so one's resting energy requirements increase (i.e. you burn up more energy when you are doing nothing)
- Improves balance and co-ordination - these need regular daily practice to work well. Anyone who has been confined to bed for a few days will temporarily lose their balance. Regular practice of a skill improves co-ordination and reflexes.
- Improves back-pain - the backbone, along with the whole skeleton, is intrinsically unstable. What makes it work are powerful blocks of muscle and connective-tissue to hold the whole thing upright. If you become weak in any muscle-group, joints will be out of shape and cause pain and arthritis.
- In some way, exercising to get fit helps the immune system - we know this because exercise protects against cancer
- More muscle makes more heat and warms you up. Heat protects against acquiring viral infections.
- Ensures a good night's sleep. Physical tiredness is a great help to sleep. Sleep is an essential for normal bodily functions!
- Makes you look good - a muscled body is a shapely body
- Improves mental prowess
What sort of exercise?
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