Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why exercise is good!

Exercise is good. Inflammation in the body is bad! - it's significantly related to a whole host of cardiovascular diseases.

The most frequently measured biomarker of inflammation in the body is C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP indicate high levels of inflammation. Essential fatty acids (Omega 3's, for example) are known to reduce inflammation - so eat some fresh, Wild Salmon today :-). Other foods known to reduce inflammation are fresh fruits and vegetables, like berries, grapes, celery and avocadoes (there are more but that's a quick list). Green tea has some anti-inflammatory characteristics too.

Fitness has been shown to be inversely related to CRP, the more fit you are the less CRP in your bloodstream. What hasn't been very well understood, however, is the mechanism that's in play. For example, if you are highly fit and have low CRP levels, is that because you are fit or are the habits of living your daily lifestyle (ie, diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy doses of essential fatty acids) causing your low levels of CRP.

This study attempted to answer that question.

What they found was that exercise was a significant contributor to low levels of CRP. They looked at sympathetic and parasympathetic tone. The former increases heart rate, respiration, substrate utilization, etc... when you start exercising, while the latter brings these values down, back to resting levels once you stop. Their main finding was a direct relationship between parasympathetic tone and CRP, which means the longer your body takes to get back to resting levels, the higher your levels of CRP. And, conversely, the quicker your body gets back to resting levels, the lower your levels of CRP.

So exercise is good for reducing inflammation in the body. Chalk up another one for the good guys.

Understand this, exercise is good but higher intensity exercise is even better. If you want to work on your body's ability to recover, than do some interval training or other form of high intensity training. It can be cardio, weights, agility drills, anything really, the higher the intensity, the harder your body has to work to recover. Over time, it will recover more quickly and decrease your overall level of inflammation.

So, really, go out and break a sweat today! here in Houston today, that won't be too hard :-)

Dr. Brian

PS. If you need some guidance on your exercise program, sign up for one of our FREE newsletters. If you are a golfer and want to knock 4-5 strokes off your game, get a copy of the Golf Fitness Boot Camp, you can even download it to your computer right now! It will improve your game and the inflammation in your body.

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