Healthy for Life
If people would realize how many health benefits exercise can offer, there would be no hesitation in getting started with some form of exercise.
Especially older folks are harder to get motivated because they think the exercise will cause an injury. On the contrary, exercise will keep their overall fitness level and muscle strength in optimal form. It’s a matter of choosing the right form of exercise.
Swimming, walking, and gardening are very suitable for older people. Swimming has the advantage that their body weight will be partly supported by the water, which makes it possible to exercise without risking any bodily harm.
Walking is the best exercise you can have because it’s natural. Good long brisk walks give a lot of benefits- the whole body begins to respond. You breathe properly, your circulation and heart benefit, and it’s good for the mind and positive thinking.
Fitness gurus have recognized the supremacy of brisk walking. Contrary to jogging, brisk walking provides a lot of benefits without any problems. Walking is almost as important as the right food. You need to eat properly and exercise properly, the two together give you the best results. The internal organs of the body need tone and for this most of them depend almost entirely on physical activity.
Exercise produces big results whether we’re 40, 60, or 80. According to the Human Physiology Laboratory at Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, we respond well to exercise at any age. Muscles grow, bones strengthen, and metabolism increases. Our body fat decreases while blood sugar and balance improve. I proved this to myself when I taught strength training at a retirement residence.
With modest effort, exercisers in their 80s grew stronger and more vital. We were all delighted. Reduced muscle strength is associated with age-related disability. The most common cause of muscle weakness is inactivity. After three months of high-intensity muscle training, healthy men over 60 experienced gains similar to those reported for younger men training with similar intensity and duration. Stronger people remained more independent and less burdened by advancing years. Any type of exercise helps, but combining aerobics, strength, and flexibility works best. For most people, aerobic exercise is an easy place to begin.
As we breathe deeply, the diaphragm – which separates the chest from the abdomen – rises and falls repeatedly, massaging all the internal organs, particularly the stomach, small intestine, bowel, lungs, and liver. The stretching and relaxing of the intestines are vital in preventing that widespread form of ‘self-poisoning’: constipation. Exercise does keep you regular!
In the mid-eighties, a vital clue to the right exercise for lifelong health was uncovered by brilliant research in biochemistry. Biochemists established that all cell replication in the immune system and therefore all immune strength is dependent on the availability of the amino acid glutamine. Your immune system uses a ton of it. But immune cells cannot make glutamine. Only muscle cells can do the job. So your muscles have to supply large amounts of glutamine to your immune system every day to maintain it. That’s it! The mitochondria of muscle are the furnaces in which most of your body fat and sugar are burned for fuel.
Muscle is what stresses your skeleton to maintain your bones. We also know that muscle is the vital link that also maintains your immunity and hence your resistance to all diseases. Muscle is the health engine. Which so much overwhelming evidence that muscular exercise is essential to health, what are we doing about it? A big fat zero.
Muscle is the health engine. It’s a proven fact that the right exercise not only maintains your heart, your lungs, your muscles, your bones, a healthy level of body fat, and even your intestinal function but also some more subtle functions, like insulin and your body’s dealing with sugar. It has been known for more than fifty years that a lack of exercise leads to glucose intolerance.
However, not long ago research has shown that getting off the couch and starting moving, not only maintain insulin function to deal with the sugar but also can reverse decades of damage. Insulin-dependent diabetics, for example, using the right exercise program, can increase insulin efficiency so much that some patients, who have used insulin daily for years, no longer need it. In healthy people, the right exercise completely protects glucose tolerance against the degenerative changes in insulin metabolism that lead to adult-onset diabetes.
Healthy old men who maintain a lifelong exercise program, have the same healthy insulin efficiency as young men. A high-sugar diet, which progressively destroys insulin metabolism, makes it virtually mandatory to exercise if you want to avoid glucose intolerance as you grow older.
Most physicians believe that hardening of the arteries, a degenerative process, is inevitable. The National Institute on Aging Research Centre in Baltimore is showing in ongoing experiments, that regular exercise maintains arterial elasticity and even reverses arterial hardening that has already occurred. I could fill many pages citing numerous bodily functions which are maintained by regular exercise. But I will keep it short.
Research recently undertaken has revealed the major way in which exercise protects you against all diseases. It started with the evidence that exercise increases the overall number of white blood cells. Followed by more precise findings that moderate exercise increases bodily production of lymphocytes, interleukin 2, neutrophils, and other disease-fighting components of the immune system. There is no doubt that the right exercise strengthens your immunity. And it also strengthens your resistance to all forms of damage, decay, bacteria, viruses, toxins, and even radiation.
Closing with the wise words of Louis Pasteur, the father of modern medicine: “Host resistance is the key.”
Wishing you a cheerful holiday season!