Research has shown that men who go from a sedentary lifestyle to one of health and fitness, slash the risk of dying from a heart attack by seventy-five percent over five years. Heart attacks are the largest single killer of women and they can cut their risk by eighty percent. As we age, we may not be as strong or as fast overall as we once were, but both men and women can double their leg strength with three months of exercise, and double it again in another three months. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re in your thirties or pushing one hundred.
What are the magic bullets? Are they some new drug or diet? The answer lies in our biology. Our survival was programmed over tens of thousands of years as hunter/gatherers. Our ancestors walked an average of five miles or more a day, and we haven’t changed at the cellular level. When we move, we send messages to the cells that it’s time to grow, time to replace the old, decaying cells with new, stronger, vibrant ones.
Some years ago, I read that we have totally new bodies every seven years. New research says that’s not true and that one percent of our cells are replaced every day. That means we don’t have to wait years for a new body, we get one approximately every one hundred days. Overall, that’s not entirely correct because bones take longer to dissolve and reform than soft tissue. Good examples are the lifespan of a taste bud, which is a few hours, compared to muscle cells, that are replaced in about three months. A graphic example of how bones are reformed and change can be seen in photos. Stand in front of a mirror and gently pull the wrinkles out of the skin. Next, look at the shape of your face and compare it with when you were twenty. The skin changed, and so has the basic shape.
When we move, no matter what our choice of exercise, muscles release substances into the bloodstream that tell the cells it’s time to grow. Exercise is one of the silver bullets that can help stop the aging process. Sedentary muscles release chemicals into the bloodstream that program the cells to decay, to age.
According to Dr. Henry S. Lodge, “The hard reality of our biology is that we are built to move. Exercise is the master signaling system that tells our cells to grow instead of fade. When we exercise, that process of growth spreads throughout every cell in our bodies, making us functionally younger. Not a little bit younger-a lot younger. True biological aging is a surprisingly slow and graceful process. You can live out your life in a powerful, healthy body if you are willing to put in the work.”
If you’re out of shape and overweight, you can change through exercise. Exercise and movement send signals to the replacement cells to remain strong, or even become stronger, than those they’re replacing. When you start slow and build as you go along, the body becomes stronger because the cells become stronger. Crash programs don’t work because it takes time to replace cells and our bodies consist of trillions of cells. Move and you become stronger, become sedimentary and you decay.
Poisons in drugs and alcohol do the same types of damage to our cells as a sedentary lifestyle, they just do them at an accelerated rate. You can’t poison yourself and expect to remain healthy.
Quoting Dr. Henry S. Lodge, “It’s not a miracle or a mystery. It’s your biology, and you’re in charge.”
Ref: Dr. Henry S. Lodge, March 18, 2007