The importance of exercise and leading an active life
The human body is designed to move. I even tell myself that every single day I sit behind a computer helping clients get well. Thing is, with technology today it's very easy to watch hours go by when your primary job is working behind a computer. The ideal situation if you do have a job that basically ties you to a chair is to get up every 30 minutes and move around, stretch a little and walk for about 5 minutes or so.
If you are a person who simply hates to exercise or has no clue what to do when it comes to exercise, then at least get moving. I remember the famous Richard Simmons would always say to just get moving. When you move around your blood flows and it keeps your metabolism at optimal levels as well. When you sit for long periods of time day after day, eventually your body will conserve energy by lowering your metabolism. This is not good because a lower metabolism means you'll burn less calories which in turn means you will gain weight. Not only that, but you will also have less energy, lose muscle mass, lose bone density, and begin to have hormonal problems as well. A sedentary person may experience a sluggish thyroid, higher estrogen levels, lower testosterone, and a sluggish bowel, lymph nodes, liver, be more apt to increased blood sugars which eventually can turn into diabetes, and even heart disease among other health issues as well. The list can go on and on. Yes, diet plays a major role, but if you're not an active person, it's only a matter of time before a host of other problems come creeping up on your door step.
The idea is to take a brisk 20-30 minute walk at least 5 days per week. If you are unable to walk, then find an activity that you like to do and do it. If you don't like any activity, then I can promise your health is at risk! If you've never exercised or haven't exercised in a long time, make sure you get clearance from your doctor and make sure you start out very slow. Maybe do 5-10 minutes per day and work up from there. Always pay attention to how you feel. If you feel dizzy, then stop. If you feel chest pain, then stop! If you are totally out of breath or feel out of breath, then stop!
Pay attention and never push yourself to the extreme as it's not necessary at all and can in fact hinder your progress. This isn't the Biggest Loser TV show where you have to practically kill yourself to lose weight. Ask Bob Harper the host of the Biggest Loser who just had a massive heart attack and it nearly killed him while he was doing an extensive workout in the gym. Yes, he has a genetic problem with his Lipoprotein(a) being elevated and heart disease runs in his family. However, I'm sure the massive amount of training he did on a daily basis didn't help. Why? Well, I could write a book on this subject, but to keep it short, let me give a brief explanation.
Excessive exercise causes inflammation in the body. This is good in some ways and bad in other ways. When the body detects inflammation it sends out cholesterol to begin the repair and rebuilding process so your body can heal. Your body is actually healing microscopic lesions in the lining of the arteries on a daily basis. However, If you have a high LP(a), which is the sticky like form of LDL, it causes an excessive build up of arterial plaque over time which can cause an occlusion (blockage) resulting in a heart attack. Also, in the presence of chronic inflammation the plaque that's lining the arteries becomes vulnerable and can rupture. We call this vulnerable plaque and it skyrockets in the presence of inflammation.
If this occurs the plaque that ruptured can travel to the brain and cause a stroke or travel to the heart and cause a heart attack or lungs and cause an embolism. In most cases of a rupture the LP(a)/LDL/Platelets will attempt to heal the injury until the artery is completely blocked by the repair. This particular process is referred to as a blood clot and it's responsible for a majority of fatal cardiac events. I am writing an entire category on this very subject so stay tuned and bookmark this page as I am making updates on a daily basis.
Remember, the body likes to move and it's healthy to exercise and push your body to a certain degree so it can adapt to stress and progress. However, it doesn't like to be pushed over the edge day after day, month after month, and year after year, especially without adequate nutrition and rest. Unless you're a professional athlete there is no sense on pushing your body to the extreme. Professional athletes push their body to the extreme and the risk of injury is off the charts. I can list pages and pages of retired professional athletes that are still very young in their early 40s and 50s and have countless joint problems, muscle problems, back problems, you name it. It's not healthy long term and I promise you that! I am in the process of writing an article on this very subject and I can back everything I say with solid research and proven studies. You want to do a form of exercise that you enjoy and can do for the rest of your life. It's really that simple!
I have actually taken clients and backed down their workouts and they started to lose those extra pounds that wouldn't come off. Remember this, it's not how hard you workout, it's how smart and efficient your workouts are. That's where I come in to help guide you so you know exactly what to do!
Resistance training using light weights and doing enough repetitions so that you feel the muscles burning is a good start as well. Any load bearing exercise you put on the body will prevent bone loss and muscle loss. Remember this, if you don't use it you will lose it. Your body is very intelligent and it will do anything it can to conserve energy and that means getting rid of bone and muscle if you are not doing anything that utilizes those parts of the body.
Also keep this in mind. What may work for your friend may not work for you. Yes, we are all human, but we are all wired differently so to speak. Our DNA determines who we are and just because your friend can walk around the block and go to the gym 3 times per week and eat whatever she wants and look like America's top model, doesn't mean you can do the same. Do what works for you. If you're not seeing results doing one thing, then switch up your routine.
Keep in mind though that it takes a few days for your body to catch up with your eating and workout routine. For example, if you started a workout routine on Monday, don't expect to see any changes for at least a few days or even up to a week or so. It amazes me how people go to the gym and get on the scale the very next day to see if they lost weight. Stay off the scale and go by how your clothes are fitting which is more of an accurate indicator of how much body fat you are losing.
Another thing that annoys me is watching people workout all covered up with plastic sweat suits trying to sweat during their workout. This may get rid of some toxins, but it's horrible if you are a beginner because your body can overheat to the point of it getting dangerous because of the simple fact your body has not had time to adapt to this type of stress. As a matter of fact, you should try to keep your body cool during exercise by wearing loose comfortable light weight clothing so your body can get rid of the heat it generates and this goes for even the most advanced level of athletes. The last thing you want to do is have a heat stroke or heart attack!
People think by sweating they are losing body fat. Wrong! You are losing water weight in the form of electrolytes and if you are not replacing those electrolytes you will eventually become mineral deficient and start getting cramps at the very least and heart palpitations as things get worse. If you sweat, you need to drink water that contains minerals and glucose so water can be absorbed into the cells. That simple! Drinking plain water won't cut it!
A good recipe would be to take one liter of water and add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 10-20 drops of trace minerals, and 6 teaspoons of sugar. Shake it up and drink away knowing that your body will be absorbing the water instead of you having to run to the restroom every hour or so!