To Your Health
August, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 08)
Metabolism Booster #1: Consistent Exercise
At present, exercise is the closest thing to a anti-aging pill that exists. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can reduce a person's risk of developing heart disease by 50 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
Research has shown that three 10-minute burst of activity are just as beneficial as one long session, so the recommended daily quota could be achieved simply by taking a few short walks during the day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car a few minutes from school and walking to pick up your kids. According to the WHO, such simple measures to incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into our daily life could halve our risk of developing inactivity-related disease such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In support of this, results of a recent study led by Dr. Philippe Meyer showed that simple lifestyle changes can have a major impact on health. Results of this study showed that choosing to walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator cut the risk of premature death from any cause by 15 percent. Furthermore, at the end of the 12-week study, participants who swapped the stairs for the elevator had less body fat, trimmer waistlines, better lung capacity, and an improved capacity for aerobic exercise.
It takes 12 weeks of regular exercise to become "fit," meaning that your oxygen capacity has improved. It takes only one brisk walk, however, to improve your health; that is, to lower indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Exercise reduces the risk for stroke, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol, lowers the risk for sleep disorders, improves mood, boosts creativity, preserves mental acuity, and maintains muscular strength, flexibility, and balance. Regular stimulation of the immune system may have a cumulative effect.
Recent research suggests regular exercise may boost levels of telomerase, an enzyme that protects against cellular aging. Professor Dean Ornish and colleagues at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California conducted a study to assess whether three months of intensive lifestyle changes would increase telomerase activity in what are known as peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The 24 participants ate a diet high in fruit and vegetables, took supplements of vitamins and fish oils, followed an exercise program and attended classes in stress management, relaxation techniques, and breathing exercises. Results showed that the lifestyle changes led to an average 29 percent increase in telomerase levels. Increases in telomerase activity were also linked to a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. [LDL cholesterol has been described as "bad" cholesterol, compared to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol. To learn more about cholesterol, visit www.toyourhealth.com.]