2 Benefits of exercise and why you should care
There are two benefits of exercise that are mind blowing and you simply can’t ignore. Exercise for your health and longevity independent of your age.
We all know exercise is healthy and there is a ton of benefits. However there are still a lot of people that find it diffiuclt if not impossible to make exercise a habit. I get it. Exercise is an uphill battle. Exercises can be difficult, even stretching can seem like an impossible task. Always trying to lift more, run faster, push your limits in each session. Why care about exercise you ask?
1. Exercise is the best way to increase Bone Density
Why is this important
Healthy bones and bone density is currently considered to be one of the key longevity markers. Bone density helps
- Keep mineral balance
- Avoid ostepenia and osteporosis
- Avoid weakening of muscles referred to as sarcopenia
- Protect against memory and cognitive problems
We lose bone density as we age
Bones are critcial for health but unfortunately we are fighting against time. Already from our 30s the bone density starts declining. The decline is even more rapid for female.
This is bad news. Imagine, as calcium leaves the bones in the process of osteoporosis, it builds up instead in blood vessel walls, leading to dangerous calcified plaque deposits. Those deposits can rupture, causing an immediate arterial blockage and producing a sudden heart attack or catastrophic stroke. It is this close interrelationship between bone health and total body health that is ground breaking!
Exercise to the rescue
But is it not all bad news. Exercise is the best way to stimulate your bones.
Performing weight-bearing and resistance training exercises can increase bone formation during bone growth and protect bone health in older adults, including those with low bone density
Athletes, that engage in high-impact sports, have significantly higher total Bone Density and there is a close correlation on the type of sport activity in achieving a high peak bone mass and reducing osteoporosis risk. Physical activity, particularly weight-bearing exercise, is thought to provide the mechanical stimuli for the maintenance and improvement of bone health, whereas physical inactivity has been implicated in bone loss and its associated health costs.
Take for example jumping.
- A study found that jumping 10 to 20 times a day significantly improved hip bone mass density (BMD) in women age 25-50 after 16 weeks. Bone density increases directly coincided with the amount of exercise performed. Jumping 20 times twice daily resulted in 75 percent greater BMD than doing 10 jumps twice daily.
- While running also offered significant improvement in BMD, it was far less than that seen with jumping.
- In fact, elite-level cyclists appear to have less bone mass compared to their running counterparts.
- Exercises that will promote bone health and bone density include weightlifting and gymnastics because the amount of force placed on muscles and bones.
Strength training and putting stress on your bones is the number one thing you can do to promote bone health and bone density.
2. Exercise creates new brain cells
Why this is important
- New cells are the result of the brain making new connections, adapting and learning.
- Learning is the driving force of life. A healthy brain is a learning brain
One purpose of the brain is to coordinate movement
The brain has many different functions, but most of us connect the brain mostly with the act of thinking.
Most of us take many of our bodies functions for granted. Let’s take coordination for example. We think that walking or balancing on one leg is an act of muscle recruitment. However we don’t often think that every action in our body works in coordinated manner. 90% of the body’s coordination activities is around movement. The whole body works together to make you walk and every movement is ultimetely controlled by our brain. We tend to forget that since certain simple movements are habits, which we perform on a daily basis, are engraved in our brain and are considered low-impact.
The brain will atrophy without enough stimulus
We all know that a muscle injury can lead to that muscle to atrophy when it is immobilized. What you might not know is that the same muscle injury will cause your brain to atrophy as well. The lack of signalling, due to lack of movement, will cause certain areas in your brain to start de-generating.
Any time you move there are signals that communicate back to the brain to help it know what is going-on. There are so many signals back and forth all the time. Touch, Pressuse, skin stretching, joint motion, tension, change in muscle length.
Creating new brain cells
You now know that signalling is keeping our brain healthy. But did you know that with enough stimulus we can create new brain cells?!
There are certain hormones like BDNF and HGH that help to create new cells, create new synapses, make new brain cell connections and learn new things. There is a whole science behind how hormones like BDNF help with neuroplasticity.
And the key here, is that you make these hormones, in proportion of the intensity of the exercise. Doing weight lifting, HIIT, sprinting are the type of activities which carry such an internsity that require from your mind to be also focused, create new connection and help your body to get better.
Strength training and movement promote brain health.
It should be clear by now how important exercise is for health and longevity. Exercise it the most potent activity to keep your bones and brain healthy.
Another important takeaway is that the journey of health starts before one begins having issues and even in our 20s. Building the right foundation when we are still young is critical. As we age it gets more difficult to increase bone density, and if we don’t take care of ourselves we will find it very difficult to keep up.
Start exercising today even if you don’t have issues, even if you are in your 20s. Build the right foundation for your health and longevity!
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