Muscle = Health

Muscle means health.

It is really that simple. Keep your muscles healthy and you will be healthy. That keeps me exercising even on days when I don’t really feel like it.

I was at the gym the other morning and I started thinking about why other people might want to go to the gym. There was a team doing a workout, a few athletes and a random assortment of others (like me) and I was thinking about what inspired everyone else to get up early and be there too.

There are two primary reasons I go to the gym. First, I like it and what it does for me. Second, I like that it makes everything else easier.

I love being outside.

I also love that going to the gym makes being active outside so much more fun. Going to the gym is a great way to push myself and then when I get outside I feel stronger, faster, better. I was reminded of this a few times recently. I haven’t been able to run, swim or ride much this summer. Between my injured toe and the smoke from all the forest fires, I spent more time this summer at the gym than doing anything else. 

Normally in the summer, I go to the once, or twice, a week to maintain all my fitness gains. This summer I was there regularly 3 times a week doing more intense workouts than I would normally do in the summer. My summer program is usually focused on maintenance. 

It has been surprisingly beneficial. I thought when I was able to get back to running there would be that normal two-week adjustment when running feels hard and uncomfortable before I felt like I was actually running. Not this time. All that effort in the gym paid off, it didn’t feel like starting again.

I experienced all the science about the benefits of regular strength training. I have to report, it’s true and that is very good news.

Muscle = health.

There are many fantastic ways your muscle improves our health and these are just a few of them.

  • Improves cognitive flexibility
  • Improved executive function
  • Strengthens connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments
  • Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Helps to regulate insulin
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Improves posture
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves back pain
  • Improves bone density
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Relieves depression
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Better coordination
  • Improves range of motion and flexibility
  • Improves sleep

You might think that I believe that exercise is the answer to everything. That isn’t so far from the truth, but you need to eat well too.

Exercise is the best predictor of health.

A brand new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shown that exercise is the best predictor of health and longevity. Lead researcher Professor Zhen Yan says, 

“Exercise capacity, mainly determined by muscle size and function is the best predictor of mortality in the general population.” 

Professor Yan and his team have now proven that when your muscles and their mitochondria,  the power generators inside a muscle cell, are healthy, then you are healthy.

Mitochondria turn energy from fats and carbohydrates into the fuel that you need to survive. I have talked about your Mighty Mitochondria and Why Muscle Matters and how you can get more mitochondria at any age in these posts.

What does exercise do to your mitochondria?

Exercise cleans house. Aerobic exercise removes damaged mitochondria. When you exercise consistently you have healthier muscle and you are healthier, you have decluttered your muscle. Within 6 hours of exercise your muscle’s start to clean house. 

When you go to the gym you build more mitochondria, when you do aerobic exercise you get rid of the waste. Isn’t that fantastic? 

The reasons to get up and get moving are practically endless. 

I am curious, why do you go to the gym?

Change your mind, change your health,

Shayla

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