So much evidence is accumulating that physical exercise is the miracle potion for getting and keeping our body and our brain healthy at any age.
Exercise is critical to immune function:
There are two important ways that toned healthy muscle tissue is crucially important for immune function.
The necessary fuel source used by many cells of the immune system is the amino acid glutamine and the muscles are the primary site where this is stored. The more toned muscle you have the more plentiful the glutamine supply, the better the immune system works.
Muscle is where the body stores protein. Protein is essential to produce new antibodies and white blood cells to fight off infections or find and destroy cancer cells. The body uses protein at a much faster rate when fighting sickness, and muscle tissue is where a reserve of extra protein is kept to draw on when needed.
Physical activity that raises the heart rate also serves to speed the circulation of antibodies and killer cells through the body and can raise white blood cell counts by anywhere from 50 – 300 percent after an exercise session.
As many people get sick when they are stressed or depressed vigorous activity helps reduce stress hormones and releases good hormones. Along with providing an outlet for the nervous energy produced by stress, this activity increases the robustness of the immune system itself and lessen susceptibility to disease.
Critical link between body health and regular exercise:
Studies are now showing a strong link between strength and lower risks of ALL chronic lifestyle diseases, especially those feared top three – heart disease, cancer and diabetes together with dozens of others.
This is the CRITICAL LINK between total body health and wellness and regular muscle building and maintaining activity.
The stronger you are relative to your body mass, the healthier you are.
So forget the notion that muscles are just for looks, they are essential for the healthy functioning of the immune system and the ability to withstand disease.
Other benefits of challenging exercise:
Proper exercise provides benefits that no other methods can ever provide, it can –
• transform your body
• give you unlimited energy and vitality
• make you stronger and more vibrant
• make you mentally strong and resilient•prevent you from disease and illness
• prevent you from having aches and pains
• give you long-lasting health for life like proper exercise does
Feel calm, feel good and boost brain power:
Intense physical activity increases blood flow to your brain elevating oxygen levels. This in turn, triggers biochemical (hormonal) changes that result in new neurons being formed that are then bathed and protected with released nerve growth factor (BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor).
These conditions encourage your brain to grow and change by forming new neural pathways and synaptic connections. This process is known as neurogenesis or neuroplasticity. Despite the lack of any pharmaceutical development to enhance this process, you have direct control of your BDNF levels and thus the fate of your brain.
Just like your muscles, your brain cells need to be stressed to grow and this is where a structured exercise program comes in. You can increase your BDNF levels and enhance the growth of new brain cells and memory.
When our body carries out vigorous physical movement it makes us feel good about ourselves, helping us get back in touch and calm the inner self. Proper exercise releases natural chemicals that regulate emotions and thoughts, helping to dissipate stress. It oils the wheels that turn in our brains for everything from the way we think, to what we feel and what we do.
And we get a bonus as when oxygen rich blood is pumped around our body it benefits every single cell, tissue and organ including the brain.
This boosts the software in our brain which stimulates energy to the rest of the body. It is the reason we feel so good after an exercise session. If you are tired, fatigued or stressed an exercise session can rejuvenate you in a very short time.
Just like any muscle, brain cells need to be worked and exercised to get them to grow and maintain strength. We do that with proper exercise, shunting blood, oxygen and growth factors into the brain.
Reduce depression, lift mood, memory and attention:
Proper physical exercise improves mood, memory, attention, creativity, and learning while reducing depression, age-related decline, and lowering the risk of dementia.
A recent Finnish study with twins showed exercise reduced dementia risks even over genetics. Even babies of mothers who exercised during pregnancy are born with more mature brains! How about that for a great “head start” in life?
Exercise is empowered to chase away all negative thoughts and stress. Pills can mask things, but they can’t fix them. However, exercise does.
A sedentary lifestyle correlates to brain shrinkage, which increases your risk of memory loss and other cognitive problems. Exercise helps protect and improve your brain function by improving and increasing blood flow to your brain; increasing production of nerve-protecting compounds; improving development and survival of neurons; and reducing damaging plaques in your brain. Over time, the cumulative effects help slow down the rate at which your brain ages.
It is up to each of us to do whatever it takes to be calm, happy and fulfilled as a person and protect both our body and our brain. Exercise is a simple inexpensive gift we all have access to and can give ourselves. The investment pays off in multiple ways throughout our life.
For days when you just don’t want to get yourself moving, there’s new motivation in the form of scientific evidence: physical activity can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years, reports a new study published in the journal Neurology.
We are experiencing a positive shift towards a brighter “health awareness and future.”
It’s time to adopt a preventive approach to personal health…
“Wellness Wake Up Call” can help you do just that…
For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your health and fitness goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: