Why Exercise is the Best “Drug”
As the light at the end of the tunnel begins to shine brighter, the hope of returning to a more “normal” life draws near. There is no doubt that pandemic has been hard on all of us. With the previous closure of our typical coping outlets (gyms, sports teams, fitness studios, yoga classes) and transitioning to working from home or “living at work”, many of us are left feeling mentally exhausted, burnt out, and unable to concentrate. These added stresses have been detrimental to our sleep quality, making us more irritable and anxious with worsening physical aches and pains.
If only there was something that could address all these issues! Something free and if dosed properly, had only positive side effects … Luckily there is, and it’s not something that immediately comes to mind. Surprisingly, the most potent “drug” known to humankind, is exercise. It can be a real-life changer and is much more accessible than we think.
The Benefits of Exercise
There is nothing that has a more positive effect on our minds, brains, and bodies than a consistent well-designed exercise habit. It is well known that exercise benefits our cardiovascular health with reductions in our blood pressure and resting heart rate. These are vital metrics for reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the Western world. Exercise also improves our ability to effectively manage our blood sugars by increasing our muscle mass while at the same time reducing our fat, with a preferential reduction on the visceral fat or the “bad” fat on our bodies. This improves our “metabolic flexibility” the single most important component in preventing the onset of chronic disease, allowing us to live better and age gracefully.
The physical and metabolic benefits of exercise are matched only by the mental, emotional, and cognitive advantages. Exercise is a potent trigger for the release of endorphins and nootropic growth factors that improve our brain’s ability to grow and adapt through the process of “neural plasticity”. Thus, exercise improves our mood, relieves stress and even acts as a defence against cognitive decline and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. On top of all of this, recent research even shows exercise increases the healthy bacteria that live in our gut or “microbiome”. With so many positive effects of exercise, if we want to remain healthy and thrive throughout life, we should be incorporating exercise into our lives, no matter our age, fitness level, or gender.
What types of exercise are best?
Exercise can be broken into four general categories – aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and balance. A well-balanced exercise regime will incorporate each of these facets but of course, one’s individual goals will determine which plan is best for them. Each one of these categories provides its unique benefits.
Is vital for cardiovascular health, improving our oxygen delivery and metabolic flexibility – flossing the cellular machinery responsible for energy production.
Stresses our muscles and bones with additional load, to which our body responds by burning a lot of calories, building more muscle, and improving the density of our bones. Resistance training becomes all that more important as we age, due to the natural loss of both muscle mass and bone density.
Flexibility and balance
These two make up the foundation that allows us to move our bodies in a safe and controlled manner, and also work in reducing the risk of injury setting us up for long-term success.
Can Naturopathic Doctors Support Your Exercise Routines?
Exercise is one of the most powerful tools within your control that improves physical, metabolic, mental, emotional, and cognitive wellbeing. It is never too late to start incorporating exercise into your life or to reignite your inner athleticism. Come visit us at the IV health centre to learn more about how our treatments can help support your overall health and fitness goals. We are here to help you thrive as the world begins to reopen!
Call 604-974-8999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today to book your appointment.