We are well aware of the benefits of regular exercise and activity on your body. This includes cardio-vascular and muscular and over-all physiological benefits. While incorporating lifestyle habits that are key to our healthspan. We want to not only live longer and healthier, but with the highest possible level of function.
Mind – Body Relationship
We have an amazing relationship between our body and our brain. Moderate exercise and activity triggers responses in your brain and nervous system. Including the production of dopamine, neurotransmitters, endogenous opiates (endorphins & enkephalins). These neurotransmitters are 3-10x more powerful than Morphine in reducing pain. Endocanibinoids are produced as well – which stimulate your brain to give you feelings of happiness, euphoria and wellbeing.
The key is to achieve a moderate level of activity for a minimum of 15-minute intervals. On a scale of 0-10 where 0 is rest/sleep and 10 is your peak performance, you should perform at a 5-7/10 level. Your heart rate should be mildly to moderately elevated above your resting heart rate and you should be breathing at a “conversational level.” This level of exertion will maintain your saturated oxygen level at/ above 90%.
More is Not Better
Exertion either below or above this moderate level will not achieve these body and brain responses. Too little exercise or activity – at a sedentary or light level – without increasing your heart rate, respiratory rate and your exertion will not give you this positive response. And likewise, exertion beyond a moderate level will not engage the persistence response either.
Your Reward for Persistence
Moderate exercise and activity produces endocannabinoids (with receptors in your brain – in the Amygdala & prefrontal cortex) to alleviate pain, decrease anxiety, heighten senses, induce state of contentment and elevate your mood. This moderate exertion effect has anthropological & genetic elements. Evolutionarily, our human species has been been rewarded for performing activities that require persistence – including hunting and gathering and with enhanced social connection, bonding, sharing and cooperating.
Your Body & Brain Will Respond
Moderate activity and exercise will have positive effects on your body and your brain – from a cellular/DNA level to your over-all movement and function. Including strengthening your neuro-musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine and integumentary systems. All of which combine to create human movement.
Start Where You Are
As a Physical Therapist – and a Human Movement Specialist – I work with patients who have acute and chronic injuries that limit participation in activities and exercise. Please be sure you get proper guidance from your physical therapist or your primary care physician before starting a new exercise or activity. It will be inportant that you pace yourself while using proper form and technique, as well as using the optimal intensity and frequency of exercise in order to prevent injury and to perform well.
Variety is a Good Thing
Many of our clients limit themselves to perform the same activity repeatedly. To prevent repetitive over-use, it’s important to perform a variety of exercise and activity. Find exercise or activities that you enjoy – either independently or in a group – and fit them into a regular routine.
Moderation is Key
Remember that moderation is the key, and that it is important that you listen to your body. Humans, race horses and greyhounds are the only species that perform beyond our physical abilities – with resulting injuries. Find your persistence reward – fitting activities and exercise into your regular routine – and enjoy the effects on your body, your bran and your healthspan!
My best to you as we Move For Health,