Regular exercise is critically important to one’s health
By KC Craichy
Founder & CEO of Living Fuel, Inc.
Studies show that exercise reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improves lung and immune system function, increases mental vitality, and lowers blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Exercise can dramatically affect “secondary aging”—the incidence and severity of diseases associated with aging, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and muscle and bone strength loss. Lifelong exercise has been shown to reduce mortality and increase life expectancy. People who exercise feel better, perform better in both work and leisure activities, and enjoy life more than people who do not exercise regularly.
If you’re waiting for a magic pill that will melt the fat away and keep the weight off and your body in the fullness of health, you’ve wasted enough time. Along with the proper hydration and nutrition, God has designed your body to naturally burn the fat and build muscle as you exercise it. Your body is a gift from God that keeps on giving if you treat it right. It is possible to achieve a strong, healthy, beautifully shaped body that is full of energy and vitality for a lifetime.
But if you’re among the 50 percent of Americans who live a totally sedentary lifestyle, you’re not giving your body a chance to function in the healthy way God designed it. Despite repeated warnings from the Surgeon General and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, millions of Americans are suffering from illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular exercise. Far too many of us continue to pay the price for consuming more calories than we burn and for abusing our body through lack of care.
There’s a simple reason why exercise is such a powerful key to weight loss. Exercise burns calories, and when you burn calories, your body must compensate for the extra energy being used. To compensate, the mitochondria, or power plants, inside your body cells divide, which burns twice as many calories. Nothing else will do that.
And there’s a simple reason why exercise is so key to health. “Every time you work out and sweat, you stress your muscles, draining them of energy stores; you actually injure them a little bit. It’s not enough to do long-term damage, but enough to stimulate repair and growth and to make muscles a little stronger. Enzymes and proteins from those muscles enter your bloodstream, where they start a powerful chain reaction of inflammation, or decay, then repair, and finally growth. And what an incredible process this is: the proteins that control inflam- mation and growth are called cytokines, and they regulate crucial meta- bolic pathways in almost every tissue and cell in your body. . . . Even moderate exercise will stimulate the good guys—growth cytokines— who will eventually overwhelm the agents of decay. . . . Every joint, bone, organ, and even the far reaches of your brain get a dose of healthy, rejuvenating chemistry each time you sweat.”
Studies show that the benefits of exercise are nearly unlimited. It reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improves lung and immune system function, increases mental vitality, lowers blood pres- sure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. How’s that for starters? Exercise can dramatically lower the incidence and severity of diseases associated with aging, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and muscle and bone strength loss.
Lifelong exercise has been shown to reduce mortality and increase life expectancy. People who exercise feel better, as exercise causes the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good hor- mones. Exercise also helps remove the adrenaline that gets pumped into our bloodstream through stress, and thus it helps keep stress under control. People who exercise perform better in both work and leisure activities and enjoy life more than people who do not exercise regularly.
Exercise throughout life is optimal, but studies have shown people in their 90s can improve strength and increase muscle mass after only two weight training sessions per week for six weeks. Clearly, it is never too late to start, and there’s no excuse for couch potatoes. Research has even suggested that otherwise sedentary individuals can increase strength by mentally visualizing exercise without any physical exercise. That’s the power of the brain.
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