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All about Exercise

Just do itDisease comes in two forms, deficiency or excess. The deficiency or excess can be in water, nutrients, air, emotions, or physical activity. Today we want to talk a little about physical activity. Everyone needs some, but how do we know how much and what kind? First of all we need to listen to our bodies. If we are having a hard time recovering from our workout we are doing too much. If we have no lingering effects of our workout we may be doing too little.

Too little exercise leads to disease. The first thing you might notice is constipation. Our bodies use physical motion to keep the bowels moving. Constipation can cause colon problems, including leaky gut syndrome and even cancer. In turn leaky gut syndrome can cause food allergies, not something that is fun to deal with.

Improper or lack of exercise can cause muscle imbalance that in turn can cause injury when you try to use those muscles. It also causes muscle atrophy. If you have ever had an arm or leg in a cast for any length of time you will remember how puny that limb looked when you compared it to the other one. This sets you up for things like back problems, posture problems, even joint problems.

The brain suffers from lack of exercise as well. It could be as simple as needing exercise to increase the blood flow to the brain, or there may be more to it than that. Nobody is exactly sure what it is, but with the right types of exercise both the thinking capacity and the memory capacity seems to be improved.

Lack of exercise can also cause heart problems. The heart is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised just like any other muscle. Not exercising it can lead to atrophy just like any other muscle. The type of exercise that works the heart and lungs is called aerobic exercise. This does not mean you have to join a zumba class in order to be healthy, because that is just one of the many forms of aerobic exercise.

How much is too much?

In the past the experts said that you had to exercise 30 minutes to an hour every day, or at least five days a week in order to maintain your health. The paleo people are calling this ‘chronic cardio’. In order to get this type of exercise people are jogging instead of running, it is the only way that they can last that long. Some people are never breaking out of a walk in order to maintain any physical motion for an hour at a time. Is this good or bad?

New research is indicating that chronic cardio is bad. It seems that if we pick an activity level that we can maintain for that length of time that it teaches our heart and lungs to conserve energy. This in turn teaches them that if they go beyond that exertion that it is dangerous. I have heard all my life about avid joggers that are out for their morning job and have a heart attack. My theory is that something caused their heart to suddenly speed up, such as a bird or small animal coming out of the bushes. Their hearts weren’t used to the accelerated pace while exercising and went into a spasm instead.

What is recommended for exercise?

We all need some muscle building. Muscles burn more calories and take up less space than fat. This makes a person look and feel better. It also helps them maintain that new physic. We also need some cardio, but not long drawn out sessions. New studies show that only ten to twenty minutes of the right type of exercise is enough.

But what is the right type?

High intensity seems to explain it the best. Dr. Mercola calls his workouts based on this concept ‘Peak 8’. Dr. Sears calls it ‘the zone’. I call it ‘surges’. Some people call it interval training or fartleks. This makes it sound like it can only be used with running, but the concept can be adapted to almost any type of exercise.

If you work out on a treadmill it is easy to incorporate the concept. You start off with a brisk pace, something that you could sustain for a half hour. Depending on your health and activity level this might be just standing there or it could be a light run. One book said that if just sitting up for half an hour was a strain then that would be your base activity. After a period of time you want to increase your activity level to your maximum capability. You want to pick a pace that you can only sustain for thirty to sixty seconds. At the end of that time you go back to the base. When I do this it is four minutes of walking followed by one minute of all out run, then back to walking. In this way I can complete a workout in ten minutes. Dr. Mercola does two minutes then thirty seconds and repeats eight times, which is why he calls it peak eights.

You could do the same with almost any type of activity. With cycling it would look like the treadmill. With weights you could alternate between medium and extremely heavy weights. You could also accomplish the same thing with the concept of the time it takes to do reps. Moving the muscles in an extremely controlled, slow manner is tougher than breezing through the movements, this creates the perfect ‘stressor’ that the body is looking for.

The benefit to this concept is more bang for your buck. You create more conditioning of the muscles, especially those of the heart and lungs in a short period of time than what you can accomplish in a longer workout. In our fast paced lifestyles isn’t that what we are after?

Good health doesn’t take all day, but we do have to work on it constantly. We must always be aware of what we are putting into and taking out of our bodies, and this includes physical exercise.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author(s). Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the authors. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.