Coach Caleb’s Corner
The Fountain of Youth
“If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.” – Mark Tarnopolsky, Genetic Metabolic Neurologist, McMaster University
In Time magazine’s recent “The Science of Exercise” special edition issue, readers will find a lot of surprising, scientific study-supported information about the benefits of exercise. Seeing a more “mainstream” publication formidably bust many long-established myths and misunderstandings about exercise is just so satisfying for this Breakthrough Strength & Fitness Coach! Not only that, but the issue revealed some new research highlighting the less obvious benefits of exercise that are quite astounding.
The World Health Organization and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention now advises most adults to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or you can cut that time commitment in half to 75 minutes if you’re doing intelligently programmed higher-intensity interval training. Even better, they now also advise twice weekly strength training sessions, and that really makes us StrongFirst types very proud! Although we should all know by now that maintaining a healthy body composition is an obvious benefit of regular exercise, did you know that your hard work in the gym has the following amazing benefits:
It might be the fountain of youth!
Research now shows that exercise can slow down the aging process at the cellular level! When the body ages and new cells need to be created by cellular division, our DNA is copied from cell to cell and the sections of chromosomes get shorter in the process. Shorter telomeres, the end-caps of our chromosomes, mean older cells. Belgian researchers have now discovered a compound they call “nuclear respiratory factor 1” (or NRF1) that protects telomeres from getting shorter. You can think of NRF1 as a protective coat of varnish. Bouts of moderate exercise cause the NRF1 coating to renew the protection on our telomeres, keeping them from getting shorter; effectively slowing down the aging of our cells!
It fights depression, improves memory, and helps us learn faster!
Although the specific reasons why we reap these benefits are still the subject of continued research, we do know that the increased blood flow to the brain during exercise promotes the creation of new blood vessels and stimulates a release of chemicals that help reduce pain and brighten up our moods. This is likely a part of the human being’s amazing arsenal of survival-based adaptations, only triggered by intense physical activity.
It gives us more beautiful skin!
By increasing the blood flow to the skin (our body’s biggest organ), exercise helps us get a fresh delivery of nutrients to the epidermis. These nutrients help us to heal from wear and tear and wounds much faster!
It increases bone density!
Resistance training or strength training (our favorite!), causes our muscles to contract while under load. This load-bearing work also puts a bit more pressure on our bones and stimulates the wonderful adaptation making them more dense and making our muscles grow too!
Doesn’t all this sound fantastic? It makes me want to get some more lifting in right now (and I’ve already completed my heavy barbell squat session for the day!). Unfortunately, although about half of all Americans actually meet the recommendations for aerobic physical activity, only 20% also do any strength training. What? I know! How can this be?!
At Breakthrough Strength & Fitness we want to be a part of the vanguard that changes this statistic. So I invite you, dear readers, to spread the word that an exercise regimen that includes strength training will help keep you young, fight depression, improve memory, help you learn new skills, have beautiful skin and increase bone density. It’s pretty hard to find a pill, supplement or cleanse that can boast all those benefits, so come join us in the gym for the best medicine of all – training!