God designed us to move! One of the greatest blessings of exercise is that when we do it right, we become functionally younger! That's because almost all the cells in our body turn-over in a short three months.
The new cells do one of two things: they either decay or become more vital. Whichever one they choose is based on what we demand of them. If we live a sedentary lifestyle, we are signaling to our cells that we really don't need them to do much, so they decay. However, if we exercise, we signal to our cells that we need them strong and healthy, working in tip-top condition, in order to meet the physical demands we place on our body.
If you have been living as a couch potato and would like to reverse the aging effects of cellular decay, the good news is you can, and you can do it quickly. Exercise six days a week for three months and you will turn back the hands of time by being functionally younger. Exercise should include cardiovascular training, resistance work, and stretching.
Cardiovascular training is when you are breathing heavily. I'm all in favor of a nice walk, but that's really only appropriate if you are just starting out, which many people are. However, you want to get to a place, soon, if you're not too overweight or out of shape, where you are breathing heavily for 30 minutes to an hour. That really tells your cells you need them! You will sleep like a baby and notice an elevated mood, thanks to those wonderful endorphins! Also, your heart, which is a muscle, will be stronger.
Resistance training is the same thing as weight lifting. This is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle because weight-bearing exercise benefits the bones. Therefore it is especially important as we age to help prevent the effects of osteoporosis. Weight lifting improves balance so we fall less. And since it strengthens bones, if we do fall, we are less likely to break a bone. Building muscle leads to weight loss because muscle burns more calories than fat, even when those muscles are at rest. Therefore, the more muscle mass we have, the faster our metabolism, which is very good.
Stretching is important to prevent injury and also prevents soreness. Like weight lifting, stretching improves balance, so we are less likely to fall.
As we enter the cold and flu season it's encouraging to note that exercise improves our immunity. Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream. This means we are less likely to get sick! Also, when you really work up a sweat, your body temperature rises, which makes if difficult to certain infectious organisms to survive.
Also, exercise prevents constipation. That's because working out increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to process things in our intestine more rapidly.
And one more thing: exercise gives us younger-looking and clearer skin. This is because of the increased circulation and perspiring is a way to remove impurities in your skin while at the same time allowing more nutrients to be delivered.
So make the effort to exercise! You'll be glad you did for so many reasons!