Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Exercise—Why Do It?

6 Reasons Why You Should Exercise
Exercise is not just to look and feel good. And it's certainly not the widely accepted wrong reason to exercise—to eat more bad food.

The rationale for exercise might not be clear. Here are six straight-forward, simple reasons why you should exercise:

#1 Exercise to Feel Good
This is not just a suck-it-up and smile type of feel good. This is real. Natural. Body created. Hormone related. Truly feel good—like all day good. Exercise creates endorphins in the body that are like morphine and opiates. Obviously wildly better than those drugs. Endorphins create a euphoric feeling that is healthier than any drug fix. Yes—even better than caffeine.

#2 Exercise to Burn Cortisol
Cortisol is a stress-induced hormone produced by the body when situations provoke emotions like anger, anxiety and fear. This stress hormone contributes to weight gain by causing the body to hold on to fat and increase cravings for sweets. Not a good combination. Not only does your body not burn fat, but it urges you to eat more sugar, which turns to fat. Ugh! And as you might imagine, with all that going on, cortisol creates inflammation which damages your organs.

#3 Exercise to Burn Fat
Be a better butter burner. I love that phrase coined by exercise guru from the late 70's Covert Bailey. Regular exercise produces lean muscle mass, which burns fat by increasing your metabolism. You can lose fat while you're relaxing in an easy chair if you have lean muscle. What more could you ask for? That's a big payoff for the little time it takes to get regular exercise.

Just a side note: don't get on the scales to measure your results because you may actually gain weight as you develop lean muscle. Size for size muscle weighs much more than fat. Instead check how your clothes fit. That will tell you when you've lost fat.

#4 Exercise to Lower Insulin
Insulin increases the body's storage of fat while at the same time preventing fat cells from releasing fat for energy. A real show stopper. Exercise to the rescue! Exercise reduces the body's insulin resistance, which is the body failing to utilize insulin and subsequently making more insulin. Yikes! The result is more fat storage. It's the road to Type 2 Diabetes.

Of course insulin is increased when we take in sugar—only one of numerous reasons why sugar is deadly. Reduce or eliminate your sugar intake and you'll reduce your insulin levels. It's that simple and exercise can help.

#5 Exercise to Fight Cancer
...as well as diabetes, heart disease, etc. Exercise discourages the growth and spread of cancer and encourages cancer cell death called apoptosis—a programmed cell death wherein cells will "commit suicide" when they go awry. Cancer cells escape the normal apoptosis process and thus cancer grows.

A recent study showed that exercise also alters immune cells helping them fight cancer and disease. So if cancer cells won't die through apoptosis (don't you love that word?), the immune system will launch an attack. Exercise becomes your front-line army against the development, growth and spread of cancer.

#6 Exercise is Fun!
Even if you don't find it fun, you can make it fun. Some love to exercise. True confession: I don't love it, but I do want the benefits it provides. Plus, I exercise outside and I love that.

Many find the idea of community makes exercise fun. Join a club or meet-up for your activity of choice—bicycling (road and mountain), running, walking, tennis, etc—and enjoy the added community it brings.

With a list this rich, is there any reason why you shouldn't exercise? The benefits achieved toward optimum wellness are too good to miss.

What is (would be) your exercise activity of choice?


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