With the last frost of the season behind us and the weather warming, as the late great Biz Markie would say, “It’s Spring Again!” In the spring, the weather is nice and that gives people the extra boost needed to get outside and be active, which is April’s theme, Move More! 80% of Americans don’t get enough exercise, which is unfortunate because of the numerous missed health benefits. These health benefits include reducing risk of chronic disease, feelings of depression, and increasing immune function.
Exercise & Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases have been killing people at an alarmingly high rate, with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes being three of the top 10 leading causes of death in the USA. All three of which are lifestyle diseases, which means that certain lifestyle changes can reduce risk of incidence. For example, examine the role that exercise plays in heart health. Harpal Buttar found that exercise at moderate to vigorous intensity reduces resting blood pressure. A lower blood pressure reduces the wear & tear on artery walls and heart rate. A lower resting blood pressure and reduced heart rate reduces the risk of heart disease. Buttar’s research also showed that exercise reduces arterial wall strain through lowering the circulating LDL (bad) cholesterol that builds up as plaque on arterial wall and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol which helps remove plaque deposits in arteries and excess fat from bloodstream.
Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise also helps in the maintenance and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Sheri Colberg found that exercise increases glucose uptake & that uptake increases as workout intensity increases. She also found that a combination of aerobic & resistance training is most effective at improving blood glucose control. She recommends 2.5 hours of exercise per week at moderate to vigorous intensity to prevent type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals. For people that have type 2 diabetes, She recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic/resistance exercise spread across 3 days with no more than 2 consecutive days of rest.
Exercise and Cancer
Cancer robs too many people of a quality life. Regular exercise can help fight against that monster. Robert Newton reinforced the idea that regular vigorous exercise has the potential to reduce cancer incidence by 40%, mostly breast and colorectal cancer. He also found that even after a cancer diagnosis exercise reduces symptom incidence, fat gain, muscle & bone loss, and increases survivorship by 50-60%
Exercise and Immune Function
These past two years should have taught us about the importance of keeping a strong immune system. You need to keep your body’s immune system strong to fight off infection, natural or man-made. David Nieman found that moderate-vigorous exercise for 30-45 minutes increases production & circulation of defense cells. Increasing circulation of defense cells enhances immune function through increased infection resistance. Moderate intensity exercise also helps to reduce inflammation. Excess inflammation in the body leads to issues such as chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness and damage to otherwise healthy body tissues. This can eventually lead to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, gout, or myositis. Being able to move freely and without pain is something many take for granted and is not properly valued until movement is restricted or painful. Regular exercise will help to ensure that dreadful life doesn’t become yours.
Exercise & Depression
Depression is something that seems to be on the rise worldwide, due to many reasons (thanks MSM for the consistent fear porn & debauchery). It is more important than ever to be prudent in the fight to protect your mental health and exercise is one of your main weapons to combat depression. Martino Murri found that exercise interventions resulted in 22% higher likelihood of remission from depression compared to conventional treatment which worked in 33% of patients. This study shows that exercise resolved depression in over 50% of patients observed.
After reading about all these awesome health benefits, you may be wondering what are some examples of exercise you can do simply at home and how much you should do a week. The CDC recommends adults participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week combined with 2 days of resistance training. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, biking under 10 mph, leisurely swimming. Vigorous exercise examples are running, playing basketball, biking over 10 mph.
It is of ever increasing importance to keep your mind & body sharp against the constant onslaught the world throws at you. A good exercise routine and a healthy dietary pattern is the foundation of a sharp body & mind. Don’t waste another day anon, go outside, get active, and move more!