Most people think of exercise as a way to lose weight or build bulging muscles. What isn't considered is what exercise does for our health via it's positive effects on a cellular level. The reason exercise improves brain functions has everything to do with what exercise does for you beneath the muscles.
Exercise does the following and more:
- Increases insulin receptors (IGF)
- Increases blood supply (VEGF)
- Helps nerve cell growth - stem cells
- Improves ADHD, decreases hunger, inhibits addictions - Dopamine
- Helps mood, self-esteem, perception - Norepinephrine (NEP)
- Elevates mood, self-esteem, pain threshold, motivation - Beta-endorphins
- Improves mood, impulsive behavior, self-esteem, stress - Beta-endorphins
- Elevates mood (with 30 min. of exercise), vigor
- Decreases anxiety, stress, depression
- Inhibits impulsive actions
- Breaks down toxins, free radicals
What We're Doing
Jack exercises three or four days a week.
- Jack does pull-ups, push-ups, & jogs 2 1/2 miles with intervals.
- Barbara is not able to exercise at this time due to auto-immune problems.
If there is any "secret" to good health it is daily exercise. What you eat is certainly important, but sufficient exercise is even more crucial to overall wellness.
The value of walking as exercise has been known for a long time. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1785:
" You must take at least two hours a day to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes the mind strong. Walking is very important. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk; but divert yourself by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far."
One of the greatest examples of what walking and exercise can do is the life of Bernarr Macfadden
(1868 - 1955). Internationally famous during his lifetime but almost unknown today, called the "Father of Physical Culture," he was a flamboyant personality, millionaire publisher, and life-long advocate of physical fitness, natural food, outdoor exercise, and the natural treatment of disease.
There is no big secret here, just get decent walking shoes and start. Naturally the distance and pace are important factors, but the main thing is, DO IT! It's a good idea to aim for a minimum of 30 minutes every day at a pace of about 4 miles an hour (fairly brisk).
Jack has practiced yoga for over 40 years with beneficial and satisfying results. Even doing a few of the yoga routines will enhance anyone's health. While it is best to start with a formal class with an instructor, there are many other sources today which will keep you as involved as you want to be. He started with only books, but now there are some excellent DVD's available and plenty of great sites on the internet.
One of the best overall methods to maintain excellent physical condition is running. And naturally, the way to work up to running is by jogging. Many people find that running and/or jogging is too difficult or spotlights other physical problems, but these can usually be alleviated. There really is no shortcut, but the vast majority of people can achieve a conditioning level of jogging or running by regular commitment, many have done it at all ages. Dr. George Sheehan
, is in my opinion, the most insightful author of running psychology and running philosophy. If his essays and excerpts
don't inspire you, then you probably won't be running.
Other good sites for tips and encouragement:
- One of our favorite on-line sources, Dr. Joseph Mercola, has a couple of good articles on the subject: Exercise Benefits For You and Exercise to Improve Your Body and Your Brain.
- Elemental Fitness has a vision for each participant to take pleasure in their evolving journey towards true physical fitness and connection of the mind, body & spirit.
- The late Jack La Lanne (1914-2011) was an inspiration to millions and his web site shows a few of their exercises.
- Men's Health publishes a magazine, but their web site has lots of health and training information. A newsletter is also available.
- The Truth About How Much Exercise You Really Need is a good article about what is really necessary.
- Senior Fitness.com is the source for lifetime fitness education; vital knowledge for promoting life-long health, strength, vigor and independence.
- Essortment has many articles to help you learn about popular exercises, routines, and weight loss techniques.