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A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
DECEPTION: Unhealthy skinny people?
“Being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat.”
—Dr. Jimmy Bell, Imperial College, London
One of my members recently asked me to write an article about how very important it is to exercise even if your weight and body mass index are within the normal range. It is true that over the years I have met many people who look great on the outside but can barely make it up the stairs without huffing and puffing. Others have difficulty bending, lifting and carrying even light items. How good can their fitness levels be? To make matters worse, MRI scans have now shown that some of these people who never exercise store internal fat which surrounds vital organs like the heart, liver and pancreas.
The latest research shows that diet alone is simply not enough to maintain a healthy life - it must be accompanied by a regular cardiovascular exercise program. In actual fact, the thinner the people were when they were scanned the bigger the surprise! It almost seems impossible to imagine that a Sumo wrestler with huge ripples of fat may have a better metabolic profile than some of their thinner spectators, says Dr. Bell “because the wrestler’s fat is primarily stored under the skin, not streaking throughout their vital organs and muscles.”
Other very important reasons why everyone should exercise - whether heavy or lean:
Helps to maintain a lean body especially for those who had fast metabolisms in their youth but developed a tendency to gain weight in their middle years.
Helps to eliminate fatigue and gives more energy even though at first you may feel more tired right after exercising - over time you develop more energy, stamina, and focus.
Lowers your risk of disease - regular exercise makes the body stronger thereby diminishing the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other ailments.
Builds endurance and strength - those straining to breathe just climbing stairs find their capacity greatly improved in a very short period of time and able to effortlessly carry and lift luggage while travelling.
Elevates mood - endorphins released in the brain during physical activity are important for preventing as well as treating anxiety and depression. Exercise breaks routine and relaxes the mind.
Promotes better sleep.
Promotes bone health.
Promotes longevity - studies have now shown that those who do well in fitness tests are likely to live around five years longer.
Just thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity five days a week can change your life. During these thirty minutes, it is not necessary to exert maximum energy for the entire time. Rather, interval training where you exert as fast as you can for a few seconds and then cut back to where you can carry on a conversation without losing your breath. This is why circuit training is ideal - resistance combined with low impact cardiovascular training. Adding weight bearing exercise can also be helpful but not without supervision from a professional - especially when in the senior years injuries abound. With this in mind, I hope to see you in the gym!