If there’s one thing you start today, and continue everyday, it is exercise. Exercise not only boosts your immune, but literally every disease out there can be prevented to a degree, or the onset slowed, by exercise. You’ll be more likely to survive, and recover from others, by participating in regular physical activity. Exercise is the single most powerful drug we have for mental, physical, and emotional disease including depression, dementia, cancer, and heart disease (the number 1 cause of death for Women in the western world).
How exercise boosts your immune system
Well, at first it supresses it a little, since the same systems that help you recover from a bout of exercise are what helps you fight disease. However, in the long run, each of these little “hits” to your immune accumulate to build a strong response.
The type and frequency of exercise is important, because high volume of hard exercise can sometimes have the opposite effect – your body needs a balance – lots of recovery after a hard session, not so much after an easy one, and a mix of both over time.
Ideal, immune-boosting exercise feels moderate, like a brisk walk, or paced hill repeats (not sprints).
Exercise and depression
Overall, exercise has a large and significant effect on depression. Even larger effects were found for interventions in medically diagnosed depression where they used aerobic exercise, at both moderate and vigorous intensities, in both a supervised and unsupervised environment. There is extremely strong support to the claim that exercise is an evidence-based treatment for depression – more powerful than antidepressants and without the side effects.
Exercise and dementia (and other Neurological diseases)
Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise seems beneficial in the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. A More recent study at Goethe University Frankfurt has confirmed that physical activity has influenced brain metabolism: it prevented an increase in a metabolite called choline. The concentration choline rises as a result of the loss of nerve cells, which typically occurs in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Physical exercise led to stable cerebral choline concentrations in the training group, whereas choline levels increased in the control group. The participants’ physical fitness also improved: they showed increased cardiac efficiency after the training period. Overall, these findings suggest that physical exercise not only improves physical fitness but also protects cells, improves memory, and slows age-related mental decline.
Exercise to prevent cancer or improve chances of surviving
Being active can help manage some of the common side effects of cancer treatment, speed up recovery, and improve your quality of life when living with cancer. For some cancers, exercise could even improve how you respond to treatment! Being physically active, along with eating a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence) for some cancer types, and also helps reduce the risk of developing other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. According to the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) position statement on exercise in cancer care, exercise should be prescribed to all cancer patients as a standard part of their cancer care to help manage the effects of cancer and its treatment.
Exercise and chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma and back and joint pain
Regular exercise can help improve your heart health and prevent heart disease. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits. For people with high blood pressure, exercise can lower your risk of dying of heart disease and lower the risk of heart disease progressing.
For the diabetics among us, regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower your blood sugar level. Physical activity can also help you control your weight and boost your energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, exercise can lower your risk of dying of heart disease as well!
If you’re asthmatic, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of your attacks.
Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function, significantly reducing chronic back pain in sufferers.
If you have arthritis, exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints and reduce joint stiffness by triggering a release of synovial fluid, your joint’s natural lubricant.
So you see, there are SO MANY powerful, non-negotiable reasons to exercise, and to start RIGHT NOW if you’re not already exercising! Walking is the biggest “bang-for-buck”, but if you can afford to do some weights in a gym, it will enhance your health results!
Clare Hozack is an ex-athlete and owner and founder of IntoYou, Life Enhancement Centre. Clare is currently a Strength and Conditioning Coach, using her skills to return women to functionality after having kids, and providing education for personal trainers in how to train women better for Life. You can learn more about Clare and IntoYou on Facebook and Insta @IntoYouLife. Book a Nutrition Consult (via Zoom or in our Collaroy Plateau Studio) at https://intoyou.setmore.com