This exercise page is aimed at providing information that is relevant to good overall health and is not aimed at bodybuilders or weightlifters.
Importance of exercise in the context of health
Fundamentally, exercise is simply about using your body’s mechanical systems (muscles, bones, joints etc) through their full range of motion and force application. Exercise could simply be the result of normal daily activities, and/or particular activities that are conducted for the purpose of exercise.
Exercise provides the following health benefits:
- Exercised muscles and tissues become more sensitive to insulin (less insulin resistant) and this contributes to lower overall blood insulin levels. As well as its importance to overall health, lower insulin levels are important if you want to lose weight.
- Exercise helps circulate lymph through our lymphatic system which is important as the lymphatic system contributes to the immune system, to our waste disposal system and to our digestive system. Unlike the blood network, the lymphatic system has no pump, and somewhat relies on bodily movement to circulate lymph. Hence, exercise in the form of continual movement is important to the immune system and cellular health.
- The body builds up structures to support essential functional activities and tears down structures that are no longer required. Exercise provides a stimulus that triggers the body to build additional structure (muscles, bone, ligaments etc). Obviously, having sufficient muscle and bone strength to conduct your routine daily activities and the occasional unexpected exertion is very important. Having strong bones and muscles is critically important to maintaining health as we age.
Types of exercise
The discussion above identified two main types of exercise that provide health benefits:
- moderate exercise or activity that supports the lymphatic system and helps sensitize tissues to insulin; and
- higher intensity exercise that stimulates the body to build additional bone, muscle and supportive tissues to support your body’s mechanical functions.
How to exercise
Note, we will only provide a high-level summary on how to exercise here as there are numerous resources that can show you how to implement an exercise program.
Firstly, how many fat cheetahs, lions, tigers, chimpanzees have you seen living in the wild? Probably not a lot! Do they go to the gym every day? Do they do a six kilometer jog every morning? No. If you look at their activities you will find long periods of moderate, routine, daily activity together with isolated, short bursts of intense activity. We recommend a similar exercise regime for you to stay healthy along with a low-carbohydrate diet.
Secondly, the exercise needs of an office worker are different than a builder’s laborer. A builder’s laborer probably gets more than enough exercise just through his daily routine, whereas an office worker may get hardly any. Clearly, you need to adjust any exercise that you do beyond your normal daily routine based on your activity level.
- Incorporate as much moderate exercise into your daily routine as you can and aim for hours rather than minutes. Aim to use all major muscles and use a full range of movement.
- Don’t routinely spend long periods inactive.
- Undertake higher-intensity strength exercises two to three times a week to help maintain and build muscle and bone mass.