Question: I recently had to put my Mom into an assisted care facility and was shocked by the cost. It made me think about my health and how much I would need in the bank to be taken care of in later life if I were not in good health. I now realize I need to be in good health. I continually read how exercise is good for me but really how life changing can it be if I applied real energy and effort to being healthier?
Answer: Exercise can be called “the fountain of youth” or preventative medicine. Many of the diseases and health conditions that doctors treat for older, but continually younger, patients can be prevented in many people by simple, regular exercise. The most frequent excuse for not exercising is that people don’t have time. You always make time for that which you find value in doing. Exercise is uncomfortable when done with enough intensity to make a difference but with enough intensity you can do 30 minutes of exercise a day four days a week and be healthier. You don’t need a gym but being in one can help to motivate you, unless time is an issue.
One more statement about time; if you don’t make the time to exercise now you are more likely to have to make the time to visit the doctor, recover from surgery or be hooked up to dialysis. Medicine and doctors are far more expensive than exercise and gym memberships.
Some of the benefits of exercise are:
- controlling blood sugars effectively. Weight training utilizes stored sugar, called glycogen, for energy and exercise is often the first defense when diabetes is diagnosed in young, under 80, adults. It is effective in helping to slow the both the onset and progression of the disease along with a low glycemic food selection. The increased blood flow from an elevated heart rate is good for helping to keep capillaries open in extremities.
- The higher rate of blood flow and hormonal changes has been found to be more beneficial than mentally challenging exercises when dealing with early stages of Alzheimer’s.
- Blood pressure and hypertension can be dramatically lowered with regular exercise.
- Cholesterol levels drop with a coordinated plan of exercise and better food selections.
- Exercise is known to affect serotonin levels and other hormones which affect mood and sleep. Several studies have found exercise to be as, or more beneficial to combat depression than the drugs currently on the market except in severe cases. The only side effect of exercise is that you get in better shape.
- The combination of better blood flow and movement pushes lymphatic fluids through the lymphatic system. This helps to fight infections since the lymphatic system has no pump and fluids are circulated through movement and muscle contractions.
- Muscles are more stronger, pliable and more flexible which helps to prevent falls along with the fact that your sense of balance can be challenged and maintained during exercise.
- Exercise sustains muscle mass so the rate of loss of muscle is greatly slowed as we age. That, in turn, keeps your metabolism higher which helps prevent obesity along with sensible eating.
- Osteoarthritis treatment includes exercise to keep joints more mobile and less painful.
- The list goes on and on…
Our bodies were created to be mobile and active and we have to sit too much because of our jobs or school. So be as active as you can and enjoy the benefits of exercise.
Rocket Fuel Workout #2
Try this set of exercises to tap the fountain of youth:
- Hip Raises: 15 reps
- Speed Squats: 15 reps
- Jumping Jack / Tuck Push-ups: 10 reps
- Clean/Press: 5 reps
- Do this routine for 20 minutes.
God bless and keep training,