Keeping up a physical activity keeps the major diseases away... and the brain healthy and young.

August 26, 2015

Practicing some regular physical exercise reduces your waist line, improves the cardiovascular resistance and respiratory capacity, strengthens bones and muscles, lowers risk of modern diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer but also reduces depression and the decline of cognitive function with age.

 

Body and mind kept healthy together, "mens sana in corpore sano" as the Romans used to say.

 

We need to move our body if we want to keep healthy. We know this rule. We spend too much time (most of our awake time) in a sitting position, driving, working on the pc, watching tv, etc. However we have not been designed by evolution to have a body for a sitting posture… yet. Our body displays the shape and mechanics for walking, running, jumping, climbing etc. which we do not do, or very rarely; therefore our present life style negatively impacts our back, joints, legs, fat storage, blood sugar level etc.

 

Choosing the right amount and style of workout to supply the lack of our daily physical movement can help keep the body working properly but also keeps the organism healthy (and smart!) in many ways.

 

It has been proven that people who live the longest have a higher muscular mass than the average. Research shows that people with a higher muscular mass, those who practice certain sports, have a reduced risk of dying prematurely: much less risk to die of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, but also less risk of getting sick with viral or bacterial infections.

 

The link between cardiovascular disease or diabetes and movement is quite clear, but what is the connection between other diseases and cancer with the muscles? This is simply explained by looking at how the immune system functions: it needs proteins for its defence cells to fight properly. Proteins are stored in muscular mass for about 75% of total body content. By losing only 10% of muscular mass the immune system becomes less functional and less able to fight infections. When the muscular mass loss is important, the organism also falls into a state of chronic inflammation becoming incapable to fight daily aggressions.

 

How lower muscles mass would be related to higher risk of cancer is simply explained by the fact that cancerous cells are kept at bay by a well-functioning immune system. When this doesn’t work properly, cancerous cells are freer to grow unchecked.

 

 

 

A lack or loss of muscular activity is also at the basis of osteoporosis. When muscular movements are reduced, the solicitation onto the bones and the bone growth is reduced as well. This is why many therapists recommend to ageing men (yes, they are also subject to osteoporosis!) and women to practice weight-bearing or resistance-bearing (i.e. against gravity) exercises, i.e. activities in which muscles are solicited by a mechanic action produced by a load: swimming, bicycle riding, or running would not work, but weight-lifting, or lifting the body (“body weight”) by squatting, crunches etc. would. Thus, lifting weights once a week and alternating with other sports (running, bicycle, swimming, tennis) would be the perfect combination to keep your body shape but also the bones strong and the immune system  proficient, thus avoiding diseases and infections. So go enroll in the body pump class nearest to you: aerobic exercises with a weight-bearing plus!

 

The best exercise is the kind that you’ll actually do – so pick the one you like the most!

 

!Next blog on advantages to the brain!

 

References

Timpka S, Petersson IF, Zhou C, Englund M. Muscle strength in adolescent men and risk of cardiovascular disease events and mortality in middle age: a prospective cohort study. BMC Med. 2014 Apr 14;12:62.

 

Ruiz JR, Sui X, Lobelo F, Lee DC, Morrow JR Jr, Jackson AW, Hébert JR, Matthews CE, Sjöström M, Blair SN. Muscular strength and adiposity as predictors of adulthood cancer mortality in men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 May;18(5):1468-76.

 

Kim, Sunkyung et al. Metabolic risk factors in U.S. youth with low relative muscle mass. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice , Volume 9 , Issue 2 , 125 - 132.

 

Westcott WL. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):209-16.

 

Focht BC, Clinton SK, Devor ST, Garver MJ, Lucas AR, Thomas-Ahner JM, Grainger E. Resistance exercise interventions during and following cancer treatment: a systematic review. J Support Oncol. 2013 Jun;11(2):45-60.

 

Corcos DM, Robichaud JA, David FJ, Leurgans SE, Vaillancourt DE, Poon C, Rafferty MR, Kohrt WM, Comella CL. A two-year randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance exercise for Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2013 Aug;28(9):1230-40.

 

Michael L. Pollock, Barry A. Franklin, Gary J. Balady, Bernard L. Chaitman, Jerome L. Fleg, Barbara Fletcher, Marian Limacher, Ileana L. Piña, Richard A. Stein, Mark Williams, and Terry Bazzarre. Resistance Exercise in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease: Benefits, Rationale, Safety, and Prescription An Advisory From the Committee on Exercise, Rehabilitation, and Prevention, Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association. Circulation. 2000;101:828-833

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