We have discussed the first three of the Pillars of Optimal Health in the last four blogs. The third of the Four Pillars is Exercise. Exercise is like the other three Pillars in that it is largely misunderstood by the media and by the public. Good healthy exercise actually is inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your life. By this I mean that what you want to do is get off your duff and start moving. There is an interesting advertisement which says, “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” I couldn’t agree more!
What we are interested in here in this blog is extending the high quality life span while deterring disease. In other words, starting at a very young age, we begin the process of Optimal Aging or the art and science of Graceful Aging. Exercise is part of this process.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), approximately 35% of Americans are not participating in any form of regular exercise. This is about the same as the percentage who are considered clinically obese. And another 27% say they exercise less than60-90 minutes per week. That makes 62%, or the same as those who are considered clinically overweight in the USA.
There are four types of exercise that are necessary: cardio/aerobic, strength training, stretching, and balance. None of them requires special equipment or money expended, except for a good pair of walking shoes and a pedometer. You don’t need a gym, but it is a social place where you can enjoy other people, so it’s up to you. Let’s take them one at a time.
Cardio/aerobic: by definition, this is exercise which requires the heart and lungs to meet the body’s increased oxygen demand. Aerobic exercise promotes the circulation of oxygen throughout the body. In my opinion, the very best form of aerobic exercise consists of brisk walking to the tune of 10,000 steps per day (almost 5 miles). Go to the local drug store or sporting goods store and buy a pedometer. Put it on your waist band or belt first thing in the morning and start your day. At the end of the afternoon, check your pedometer and see how many steps you have made. If it is 10,000 or more, congratulations!! You did it! If it’s 7,500 simply step out the door and walk briskly for 1,250 steps one way, turn around, and walk back. Again, you did it! And that’s all you have to do. This will make your heart and lungs work, and it will get the blood flow going in the lower legs which is one of the most important things you can do to prevent strokes. Swing your arms while you walk or not–it’s up to you and the circumstances where you are. Go to your local parks and hike the trails. When you can walk in Nature and feel good and relaxed, that will strengthen your Spirit which is most important! (An aside is that you will find yourself parking at the outer limits of the parking lot when going to the store–not only more steps, but better for your car’s paint!) You can also buy a rebounder (small trampoline) and use it daily. This method of exercise is easy on the joints, easy to do, and in many ways is superior to even running! It is the very best way to get the lymphatic system working, and this is terrific for detoxification.
Strength training: You can buy a pair of simple dumbbell weights or you can fill up a couple of quart water bottles (if possible start with gallon bottles or make that your goal) and lift them using all the different muscle groups. There are books written on doing this, or you can get information on the muscle groups on line. You can also do the old fashioned calisthenics: push-ups and push-outs, squats, biceps and triceps curls, etc., etc. Walk up and down stairs. Use your imagination! (Makes it good for the brain too!)
Stretching: This is one of the main tenants of Chinese Medicine: keeping the flow of energy in the body open and not stuck. Simple to do: just do Yoga or Pilates or 5-10 minutes of simple stretches as part of a “cool down” time. Each stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds and you should cover multiple muscle groups.
Balance: This is incredibly important as you get older! One way to get better at balance is to stand next to a chair holding on to the back with one hand. Raise your leg that’s next to the chair and let go of the chair. Then do the other leg. Once you can do this well, try raising your arms to the sky while standing on one leg or better yet, put your palms together in front of your chest, like in the Far East Indian prayer position. Do with both legs for 30 seconds. Once you can do this, then do it with your eyes closed!
Exercise is its own form of detoxing. It removes waste from the lymph, it stimulates peristalsis for more complete bowel emptying, and it accelerates the removal of toxins through sweat, urine, and breathing. Exercise fundamentally changes every system in your body.
Note that you don’t really need equipment to do exercise which benefits your health. A pedometer is inexpensive, weights can be home made, and if you buy a rebounder it will last for years. But none of these is “necessary!” Now—-GET MOVING!!!
Next blog we will deal with the jungle of optimal supplementation even to a “good” diet.
Please pass this blog along to your friends, family, and co-workers. We work with people by utilizing the modern technique known as “telemedicine,” and we would love to help you. You do not have to come to Delaware! We also can help you as a “Medical Advocate.” What this means is that, if you have questions about health matters, including the interpretation of laboratory testing, you can contact us and we will discuss what your test results mean and help you get good answers to your questions. It seems that today everyone, including doctors, is in a rush and you end up getting the short end of the stick. We can help with that problem. Just give us a call at 410-326-6690. Also, check out our Web Site at http://www.wholebodyhealth.us for more info.