By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
August 20, 2018
- Double your chances of living disease free
- The hidden benefits of exercise
- My six day workout for your health
Adding more years to your life is a great goal – especially if those years are spent in great health.
But what does it take to achieve that great health?
Well, there is one, single everyday activity can make all the difference in the world. Getting more exercise.
The fact is, people 50 years of age and older who get the most exercise are twice as likely to remain fully functional and disease free over the next 10 years of their life. In other words, they have two times less chance of experiencing negative health outcomes such as a stroke, heart disease, angina, cancer and diabetes.
To top it off, older adults who exercise are also able to remain in optimal physical and mental shape a decade later.
That’s saying a lot, isn’t it? But there’s more…
The Hidden Benefits of Exercise
It’s no big secret that participating in a regular exercise program is good for your health. However it goes far beyond the well-known cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits that immediately come to mind when you think of exercise.
Regular physical activity can also…
Make you happier. Regular participation in a physical exercise program boosts self-esteem, increases life satisfaction, contributes to a more positive mood, enhances mental health and results in a significant increase in general happiness. Better yet, all of this can happen in as little as eight weeks.
Enrich your gut microbiota. These days we know that the gut microbiome has pretty much everything to do with your overall health. An unhealthy gut microbiota can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bowel problems, reduced brain function, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and many other health concerns.
Well believe it or not, exercise can help increase the ratio of “good” microbes in your gut – even if you’ve been sedentary for a long time or are overweight. Plus, people who have the best cardiovascular fitness have more of a particular bacterial species that helps prevent leaky gut syndrome.
Reverse damage to your aging heart. Four to five 30-minute sessions of exercise each week can reverse damage to sedentary, aging hearts and help prevent risk of future heart failure. These results are seen when workouts vary during the week, ranging from high intensity workouts to aerobic exercise, strength training and moderate intensity exercises.
My 6-Day Workout for Your Health
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but rates of physical activity drop considerably among middle-aged adults. And they decline even further in older adulthood. However, it’s really not that hard to get up and get active, especially when you consider all of the benefits that come with it.
One of the simplest ways to get all of the physical activity you need is to take up high intensity interval training, or HIIT. It’s a supercharged combination of short, intense bursts of exercise, aerobic activities and strength training… along with light to moderate intensity activity between intervals.
The basic concept is to start out with short bursts of intense activity followed by a minute or two of rest or reduced activity levels. Then, as you progress to better health and stamina, you increase intensity and repetitions while at the same time taking shorter recovery periods.
Here’s a sample 6-day workout to get you started (the 7th day is for rest):
Days one, three and five: After warming up for a few minutes, do a 30-second sprint—walking or running as fast as you can. Walking is recommended if you’re someone who is new to exercise or has never run on a consistent basis. Then, follow it up with two to four minutes of easy walking. Repeat four to six times. The workout ends with a three to four minute cool-down.
As it becomes easier, try increasing the intensity of the sprint and shortening your recovery time. (i.e., a 30 second full-out burst, followed by lesser and lesser minutes of easy walking.)
Days two, four and six: Choose two or three different resistance exercises that suit your physical level. Almost anyone can perform planks, bridges and chair dips. More difficult resistance exercises include squats, lunges and pushups.
Then, simply perform one exercise for 30 seconds. Take a short break then move onto the next exercise and do it for 30 seconds. After a final break, move on to the final exercise.
Once complete, repeat the set three more times.
As always, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Exercise cuts risk of chronic disease in older adults. News Release. Westmead Institute for Medical Research. July 2018.
Khazaee-Pool M, et al. Effects of physical exercise programme on happiness among older people. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2015 Feb;22(1):47-57.
Griffin JL, et al. Does Our Gut Microbiome Predict Cardiovascular Risk? A Review of the Evidence from Metabolomics. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2015 Feb; 8(1): 187–191.
Evrensel A, et al. The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015 Dec; 13(3): 239–244.
Galland, L. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. J Med Food. 2014 Dec 1; 17(12): 1261–1272.
Allen JM, et al. Exercise Alters Gut Microbiota Composition and Function in Lean and Obese Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Apr;50(4):747-757.
Healthier hearts equal healthier guts. News Release. San Francisco State University. July 2018.
Proper exercise can reverse damage from heart aging. News Release. UT Southwestern Medical Center. Jan 2018.