Written by R. S Jacobs
I am going to go out on a limb by making a bold statement – our generation is fatter, sicker and weaker than the ones before. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity is an increasing epidemic across younger and older generation at this present time. It’s hard to read the news nowadays without some kind of disease ending in -mopia, -itis or -osis in the headlines. It begs the question, what is the real cause of these diseases and what is the cost to our health? Our relationship with food is on another level and unfortunately, it is very clear when you see the increasing waistline measurements and a significant decrease in overall health.
Whilst there are most certainly unavoidable environmental or genetic causes for many diseases, one crucial ingredient seems to be overlooked. Despite any genetic predisposition you might have to certain diseases, exercising is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of illness. That doesn’t mean you have to break your back slaving in the gym for hours every day. Once you find a routine that works for you, do it in small doses, little and often, 30 mins – 5 times a week is enough to prevent the onset of underlying sickness. We are all fully aware of the fact that exercising aids weight loss but what many people are not conscious of is how essential fitness is to your overall health and keeping you in tip top shape.
Exercise is the ideal solution to counter high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol level which cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and osteoporosis. In my own personal opinion, when you exercise, your body is in an optimum level of functionality by getting fired up from the inside – Just like a room get warmer when you put logs in a fireplace. Your lungs expand allowing them to take in enough oxygen, your heart beats faster pumping the oxygen in the blood around the body so your cells receive the required amount of oxygen and hormones according to your activity level. And when you really think about it, your body was created to be a super machine that constantly rejuvenates itself, which helps to fight off any abnormality in the body.
One of the biggest silent killers when it comes to disease is depression, something that many people use as a reason for not being motivated to exercise (see my recent article on motivation). Depression leaves people feeling generally lethargic and lacking in energy, both mentally and physically. So the motivation to be active and live a healthy lifestyle is totally out the window, as they find it difficult to see beyond their troubles. What many people in this situation don’t consider is that exercise is the best way to combat the effects of depression because your body releases natural happy hormones to uplift your mood. All it takes is 10-15 minutes of a low-intensity light form of exercise, why not try yoga, to see the instant effects of what your body can do to defeat the seemingly overwhelming consequences of depression.
In all the years that I have been focused on my health and fitness, I have never been to the hospital or doctor once during this period. Is this a coincidence or maybe just pure luck? I don’t believe in luck as luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and a coincidence for almost a decade seems pretty far-fetched to me, don’t you think? Not only that but before I started my journey, I was always bouncing from one cold or flu to the next. I decide to take matters into my own hands and started doing a bit of research about how a combination of diet and exercise helped fight off illness and I learned something so inspirational that I decided to change my life.
The country with the best health in relation to their age is Japan, and they have the lowest mortality rate. Surely, not another coincidence! In addition to their nutritious, healthy and clean native Japanese diet, the older generation in Japan loves to stay active. They walk more and exercise daily to keep in top shape, it’s part of their way of life and heritage. It became glaringly obvious to me that the more you move, the more chance you have to scare away diseases.
Let`s check out some facts from the NHS (UK National Health Service) on how exercise has been proven to improve health:
* up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
* up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
* up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
* a 30% lower risk of early death
* up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
* up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
* a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
* up to a 30% lower risk of depression
* up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
I think these facts alone are convincing enough to get you to start living an active life. It is certainly much more effective than a cocktail of prescribed drugs that come with a long list of dangerous side effects.
Benefits of exercise:
* Brain Function. When you exercise your brain gets a higher supply of blood and oxygen which helps in the formation of new cells. Your thinking pattern increases, coordination gets better, it’s easier to learn new things and your overall memory improves. No wonder they say exercising prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases.
* Insulin Levels. It is paramount that your blood sugar levels are regulated and exercise does that for you by normalising and breaking sugar down to a more useful form in the body. This helps to prevent diabetes and has been known to completely reverse early type 2 diabetes.
* Immune System. The importance of a fully functioning immune system can’t be stressed highly enough. As a result of regular exercise, your body works harder at getting rid of pathogens that will inevitably lead to diseases. This goes back to my theory that when your body is fired up and the blood is flowing into every nook and cranny, your cells get more resources to fight bacteria and viruses.
* Slows Ageing. Most people seem to be very motivated by the thought of retaining a youthful appearance for as long as possible. Exercise is a natural elixir that maintains the fountain of youth. When you are fit and happy, your body will thank you by staying youthful. As your cells are firing on all cylinders, it makes your skin retain its elasticity. So, endeavour to keep that body tight and youthful.
* Prevents Cancer. For those who don’t know how cancer begins, it occurs when cells multiply to uncontrollable levels. The abnormal cells then merge to form a tumour that attacks the body. Studies have shown that high insulin level can trigger this process. So, by exercising daily you regulate your insulin levels, and in turn, you will benefit from preventing the trigger that feeds the cancerous cells. Exercise also controls the release of oestrogen hormones which cancerous cell thrive off. Studies have also shown that cancer survivors can prevent the recurrence of cancer after remission stage by regular exercise.
* Stronger bones. As we age, our bones start to lose density. Things you used to do without even thinking in your 20s, start to become more difficult in your 40s. The only solution is to trick your body into continuously build bone density through exercise. Stronger bones help prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and fractures.
* Quality of life. One day, I was chatting with a client about the importance of exercising and good nutritious diet plan. I also mentioned that they should stop smoking and say no to alcohol & sugar. Then, her partner grudgingly asked, “Do you want to live forever?”— “Why put so many limitations in your life?” I had to explain to him that obviously, we are all going to die someday but the wise part of life is having the knowledge to live a good quality one without the plague of illnesses and suffering. And I know one thing for sure, a hospital is not a fun place to be.
As you have read, exercise is crucial to ward off diseases, but it must go hand in hand with a healthy diet for maximum results. This is especially important for avoiding cancer as sugar is the number one fuel that breeds cancer. There is no point putting in lots of effort into exercising if you end up undoing all your hard work and sabotaging your progress with a poor diet. Basically, you are giving with one hand, and snatching it away with the other, and your body will be in a constant state of confusion trying to reach the desired equilibrium.
Don’t over-do it, integrate moderate exercise, perhaps start with regular walks and work your way up. Cycling is also a great way to get started, or why not try my personal favourite, strength training. Our health is our most precious possession, don’t shorten your future by not being conscious of the choices you make in the present and how they might affect you in the long run. Make smart choices, and choose to live the best life you can.
Live your life to the fullest!
Stay Strong, Warriors.
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Content on this blog is provided for education and information purposes only. The Information therein is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Lean Waist Warrior urges all users to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical question.