By Clive Lindley-Jones | March 12, 2010 1:35 pm
"Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that physical activities such as walking or weight lifting may turn out to be the best medicine that physicians can prescribe to help their patients feel less anxious." -- Matthew Herring, department of Kinesiology, The University of Georgia
Thanks again for all those who let us know you have enjoyed these Health E-Coaching monthly thoughts. If you have gained something from them, feel free to share them with your friends and family.
Following on from our discussions on food and weight, as promised, now we turn to the role of exercise in health and well-being.
Exercise for weight loss: not quite the simple answer we thought
While exercise does many, many wonderful things to our health and well-being, its role in weight reduction has probably been overplayed in recent years.
What counts for weight loss is probably more in the region of 80% food related and 20% exercise. Where those gym rats who work out constantly but seem never to lose much weight fall down is on what they eat and the portion sizes. After a hard work out, they celebrate with a few pints of beer or some fiendish manufactured concoction full of alien eat-me-till-you're-stuffed chemical additives, sugars and toxic fats.
However, that is not to say that exercise is not all its cracked up to be. There are at least 30 wonderful, not to be passed over, life enhancing benefits of exercise, as we can see from the latest research from the University of Georgia quoted at the top: reducing anxiety can be one that many people may overlook.
Apples, Pears & Unhappy Fats
Recently, I wrote about fat types and how being a pear shape can be a bit healthier than being apple shapes and storing all your fat around your organs. Interestingly, and not fully understood, this visceral fat affects mood by increasing production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and reducing levels of feel-good endorphins. So, along with killing you, visceral fat, it seems, can make you feel low along the way. Have a look at what this toxic fat actually looks like.
So, the more we start to understand the role of movement in our health and well-being, the more nuanced and complex the picture becomes in some respects, yet simpler in others.
Just as with food, so there are many new discoveries coming through allowing us to understand the benefits of exercise for us all, but what they all point to is really that, the more we move around and use our muscles and bones every day, as we always have done in man/womankind's time on earth, the more likely we are to live long and healthy lives.
So, why should that cause us so many problems? And how can we possibly change our lives to allow ourselves to live more in harmony with the natural needs of our bodies, allowing them to feed and regulate our minds as they were meant to - leading to a calm, confident, happy state of mind and functioning, strong bodies that we are grateful and proud to inhabit?
A Box World
Part of the problem lies in our understandable desire to develop machines to take the backbreaking drudgery out of life when it was largely dependent on muscle power, either ours or our animals. Until the relatively recent invention of steam power from coal, we were dependent on these forces and those of the wind for almost everything.
Suddenly we discovered a source of unimaginable power of fossil fuels, first in burning coal and then oil. Everything changed! However, with this welcome change, gradually at first and in recent decades, rapidly, our world has changed and we hardly need use our bodies to feed and clothe ourselves. More and more of us are confined to a box world. We travel in a box to work, sit looking at a box, snack strange non-food out of a box and then unwind at night watching another box. Is it any wonder that many of us end up in our last box prematurely?
So how can you add back that life-giving movement, naturally into your daily routine? Of course this is a multi-billion pound business now with competing gadgets and classes all around. But here are a few bottom lines:
*Build into your belief system an understanding and belief in the power of movement and that it applies to you even if you hated all those miserable, forced games of hockey at school.
*Find ways of moving more within what you do right now. Stretch back as you read this, make friends with you body again and let it tell you the joys of movement.
*Unless you are a hill farmer whose quad bike has bust, you probably are being forced into a greater sedentary life by your circumstances than is ideal for your body and mind. DECIDE TO CHANGE THIS.
*Remember the Very Best Exercise Programme in the World is the one you enjoy doing!
For more secrets and tips, knowledge and ideas on how to integrate exercise into your life, permanently, and enjoy the process, go here.