The Real Benefits of Staying Active and Making Healthy Living Choices

Two things you are likely going to hear if you go to the doctor for treatment of practically any condition from chronic pain to depression is to eat better and get more exercise. In addition to testing, treatments and medications, the standard advice for patients from medical professionals is to make better food choices and to exercise appropriately and regularly. This is because studies have consistently proven that your overall mental health and physical wellbeing is connected to eating right and getting your body moving. A happy active lifestyle reduces chronic pain and associated depression. Breaking out of the endless cycle of pain and depressive thoughts to gain a healthy mind & body is possible, and here are some encouraging motivators to help you accomplish that.

Exercise for Arthritis

There are over 100 forms of arthritis, and almost every form comes with the standard doctor recommendation to get exercise to keep your joints moving and reduce the need for pain medications. It seems counterintuitive to move parts of your body that hurt, but an incredible amount of arthritis pain relief can be achieved through proper daily exercise. Starting slow and sticking with it is key. Your doctor can recommend the types of exercise activity specific to your diagnosis. This will help you lead a happy active lifestyle that can be practically pain free even if you have arthritis.

Pain can debilitate both your mind and body. When you have pain in your joints, you begin to compensate by favoring the painful area and using it less. As the pain increases, you choose to do less in order to prevent the pain. However, with most forms of arthritis, movement brings relief. Lack of movement leads to increased pain and the emotional stresses that chronic pain can bring to your mind. First attempts to alleviate arthritic pain through exercise need to be coordinated through your doctor, but sticking with it can produce phenomenal results in many cases.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Heart problems can be one of the scariest things that can happen. Everyone knows that the little fist-sized pump in their chests needs to work to live. However, that does not stop the majority of people from abusing it over the years with poor diet and exercise habits along with other bad habits such as smoking. The good news is the heart is quite resilient. Dr. Dean Ornish proved that a degree of heart disease can be reversed by lifestyle changes. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can improve some patients to the point where they are better than they were before a cardiac event occurred.

Your wellbeing can be secure even if you have had a cardiac event such as a heart attack, but it is up to you to overcome the fear of pursuing a healthy mind & body after a cardiac event. A cardiologist will recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program based on your diagnosis as well as his perception of how far you are willing to go to make changes to pursue a happy active lifestyle. The goal is to prevent any cardiac events, but you can recover from even serious heart issues if you follow medical advice and make serious changes to how you live your daily life.

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes begins when there is a problem with insulin. The insulin your body makes in your pancreas is like a key that opens up your body's cells to receive energy from glucose. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your body's immune system is attacking the islet cells in your pancreas, which makes the insulin. As the cells die, you do not have enough insulin and need to take injections to make up for it. Type 2 diabetes begins as insulin resistance. Your body does not use its own insulin well enough. Over time, your pancreas can wear out as it attempts to produce more insulin trying to keep up. This will lead to an eventual need for injected insulin if you do not do something about your wellbeing.

It has been discovered that Type 2 diabetes is completely reversible in its early stages. A C-Peptide test shows how much insulin your body is still producing. You can, with the proper dedication to therapy, reverse your Type 2 diabetes so that you do not need oral medications or injections of insulin. The two main culprits behind Type 2 diabetes are weight gain and sedentary living. Weight gain is mitigated by a combination of changing what you eat and getting off the couch to live a happy active lifestyle to get the pounds off. Many people with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis can return to normal blood glucose levels, gain a healthy mind & body, and get off diabetes medications by seriously following dietary and exercise recommendations.

Muscle Mass for Senior Years

Youth comes with a gift of lean muscle that is critical for wellbeing into your senior years. Genetically, your body ages as the telomeres at the end of your chromosomes begin to shorten. Endless replication of the various cells in your body begin to degrade as the years go by. The copies of cells that make up your skin and every other part of your body begin to look like photocopies of photocopies that get passed around and photocopied again. The degrading replication leads to noticeable physical changes as you age such as sagging skin, wrinkles and more. One thing that is hugely beneficial as you age is maintaining your muscle mass.

Your genes and time can work against you if you let them. Protecting the longevity of a precious family heirloom likely requires locking it away where it will not be handled or exposed to risk. However, your very own body does not work that way. You need to keep moving and doing things that stress your muscles to keep them from wasting away. You do not have to look like a heavyweight bodybuilder to bank some muscle for your senior years, but you should have a proper amount, especially if you need to make up for what you lack.

Your doctor can tell you if you are doing well when it comes to muscle mass, and you can only build muscle mass through resistance exercises. This can be through using free weights such as dumbbells or machines that mimic lifting weight through resistance. It can mean the difference between having a healthy mind & body that is free to get around and live at home in your senior years or needing someone to do everything for you. Having sufficient muscle mass to remain active into your golden years can prevent the depression that isolation due to not being able to get out and about can bring.

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a word that immediately evokes a sense of fear. No one wants the "C" word to be a part of their life. You have likely seen many suggestions on how to prevent various cancers from not using tobacco to limiting exposure to the sun. Did you know that exercise is a cancer preventative? One example is estrogen reduction in women who exercise regularly. Estrogen elevates as weight increases and is behind many breast and other cancers more typical to women. Some indicators for women and obesity-related cancers are not if they will develop certain cancers, but when. Weight reduction reduces estrogen and correspondingly reduces cancer risk.

Getting regular exercise to the point of maintaining a level of fitness is also beneficial to men. Breast cancer happens to men, but exercise can also lower the risks of colon, lung and prostate cancers. Keeping fat levels in check while maintaining an appropriate level of muscle mass has huge metabolic benefits in cancer risk reduction. Many factors are involved in the myriad forms of cancer that exist. Genetics is something you are born with, and your environment may be very difficult to change. However, other risk factors such as your diet, activity levels and stopping unhealthy habits are within your realm of control, and there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing you are doing the best that you can to live a happy active lifestyle.

It is an extreme challenge to be happy and well-adjusted when you suffer from a chronic health condition, and this is especially true if there is an added guilt that you could have done something to avoid it by making better lifestyle and exercise choices. The wellbeing of your mind and body go together hand in hand, but your body can have an exceptionally powerful influence on your state of mind. Every step you take toward improving your physical health through proper dietary, lifestyle and exercise choices improves your state of mind.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that helps your brain deal with the stressors of daily life. Daily physical activity can be anything from a walk at lunch with your spouse or friend to an extreme aerobic and weightlifting workout at a local gym. Every person is at a different level of need and capability. The important thing is for you to get moving and keep moving to take control of having a healthy mind & body instead of your body being in control of you.


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