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Regular Exercise: A Solution To These - 10 So-Called "Age-Related" Illnesses

By John Benson Contributor
Updated: June 28, 2008
Here's a short and sweet issue of Success For Life, but one that I know will inspire you to either take action, or continue to take action toward living Fit Over 40. (A special thank you to Dr. Ann Gowans for providing most of the content for this article.)

The beautiful spring weather is here, and summer will be upon us before we know it. Now is the time to remember that it's never too late to start an exercise program. The latest news is that well into our 90s, our body systems can be stimulated to respond to regular exercise.

"From the top of our heads to the bottom of our toes, physical activity is the stimulus that gets almost all our organs working at their best," Tufts exercise expert Miriam Nelson says. She and her colleagues give 10 ways that inactivity can take a toll on our bodies because when we are inactive, our ability to transfer oxygen from the bloodstream to cells is diminished. When we can't get as much oxygen out of our blood, we can't walk up a flight of stairs as easily, and all our other systems are also affected by this loss. Here is the list:

Diabetes. Insulin sensitivity appears to deteriorate when we are inactive, but it responds positively when we get back to regular training. The most common type of diabetes, type 2, actually occurs when the body becomes insensitive, or resistant, to insulin in the blood. As the insulin stops working, the blood sugar level rises, and diabetes sets in. Regular exercise can actually reverse the damage because it increases insulin sensitivity and makes the cells better at taking in glucose and processing it. If you love TV, remember that every two hours a day of inactivity is linked to a 14 percent increase in the risk of diabetes, as opposed to one hour of brisk walking, which is linked to a 34 percent lower risk. This makes diabetes most often a "sedentary disease." (Editor's Note: I have personally seen type 2 diabetes completely eliminated within weeks on the proper nutrition and exercise plan without the use of drugs dozens of times in my career. As of the year 2000, one out of every four children born in the United States will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime unless we change our lifestyle habits. Economic forecaster Edwin Forrest says, "At the rate diabetes alone is increasing, our current health care system will be incapable of handling the epidemic past the year 2014." Remember - we're talking about type 2 diabetes, which is a reversible lifestyle disease.)
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Cancer. A Harvard study says, "The evidence is fairly clear now that men and women who are physically active have a 30-40 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared to individuals who are not active." This seems to be true because activity stimulates a more active colon. The overweight also have a higher incidence of this disease. Increased activity can help with weight control. Also, regular exercise also appears to lower the risk of breast cancer by about 20 percent for post-menopausal women. (Editor's Note: The connection to cancer and the lack of physical exercise is becoming more and more clear as research into this complex killer progresses. However, exercise alone is not sufficient, as seen in people like Lance Armstrong, one of the most fit individuals alive today. You must combat free radical damage with sufficient anti-oxidant intake from both supplemental and nutritional sources. I do not sell supplements as you know, but I highly recommend fish oil, Krill oil, and CoQ-10 in addition to the nutrition protocols covered in Fit Over 40 to stay healthy.)

The brain. "People who are more physically active are at lower risk for cognitive decline and dementia," says the director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry at Johns Hopkins. In a study of more than 3,000 older men and women, those who engaged in four activities, such as walking, household chores, gardening and jogging, during the previous two weeks were half as likely to be diagnosed with dementia five years later as those who took part in no more than one activity. Alzheimer's is a separate disease, however, and those who carry the gene that might cause the disease tend to show symptoms in their 70s rather than in their 80s, when most dementias start to appear. (Editor's Note: This is a personal comment about my mom. She turns 80 in one month, and she looks 60...and acts 30! At the age of 75, she began weight training and supplementing her diet with the aforementioned supplements, along with Gingko Biloba, Taurine, nAL-Carnitine, and a few other brain-helpers. She was displaying serious signs of onset dementia, repeating herself up to 10 times in a few minutes. She was inactive, had high blood pressure, and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She now walks 2-4 miles per day, maintains a moderate nutrition plan along with the daily supplements, and weight trains 2-3 days per week. Her blood pressure is normal without meds, her diabetes is eliminated (again, without meds), and she no longer repeats herself at all. She's a wonderful testimony to what the Fit Over 40 lifestyle can do for anyone at any age.)

The heart. About 1.2 million Americans have heart attacks each year, and no one is surprised that couch potatoes have a higher risk of this happening. Exercise boosts good cholesterol and makes the lining of blood vessels more flexible. Regular exercise protects the heart through blood pressure reduction, insulin sensitivity, better oxygen supply and more flexible arteries, among other good things. Exercise training also has a wonderful effect on those who already have heart disease if they are given a regimen to suit their needs and are closely monitored. (Editor's Note: "Good cholesterol" will soon be seen as a myth in my opinion, but the rest of these comments are right on the money. Exercise the Fit Over 40 way can promote ongoing vasodilation , or the forced opening and widening of arteries. This increases blood flow and decreases the likelihood of strokes and heart attacks by 50-75% according to most studies.)

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