Convention of Statesmen


Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 5

From last week's column: So, what does this all boil down to? Eat well, avoid smoking and alcohol. Eat your fruits and veggies, raw is the most beneficial. Keep your diet balanced. This will be a good starting point to achieving optimum health, which we all know is a good building block for health hair, skin and nails.

Now on to the next step which will enable you have to the kind of hair, skin and nails you desire. Exercise.

Oh yeah, exercise is a critical part of every human beings life. Centuries ago when people had to farm their land to eat, scrub their clothing on a washboard, build their own homes . . . well, they really didn’t have weight problems. It’s the sedentary lives we live now, along with the fast foot diet, which has caused unprecedented weight gains for human beings across all first world nations.

Variations of exercise stretch to infinity. Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, weight lifting, biking, swimming, aerobics, basketball, jogging, running, walking – it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it regularly.

Walking, for instance, is a good way to start if you haven’t exercised in a long time. Start going around the block once and build on that until you’re walking a couple of miles a day. If you walk for forty-five minutes, up and down hills are best, you will then go into the phase where you’re burning fat and your metabolism rises and stays at the higher level for up to eight hours. Not a bad result from taking a brisk walk.

Jogging, while extremely hard on your knees, shins and ankles, certainly burns the calories and gets the body fit and ready to go. I would recommend, using excellent running shoes which provide the optimum amount of support. Those shoes with the funny looking heels with springs in them are probably the best you will find if you insist on running and jogging.

Swimming is equally challenging, if not more so, than jogging and running. Swimming uses every muscle in the body, increases your lung capacity and health all around without damaging portions of the body usually damaged by jogging and running.
Whatever form of exercise you choose, the benefits of exercise are many and varied:
  • Exercise relieves tension and stress. Physical exercise is a proven method of relieving stress. Studies have found that exercise reduces electrical activity in tense muscles as soon as your workout ends.
  • Exercise provides enjoyment and fun. Really, it’s true. Once you get into the exercise mode, your endorphins increase and you get an energetic all around feeling that life is suddenly going your way. It’s the getting there that’s a little difficult. Studies have shown that endorphins are released for up to 90 to a 120 minutes after exercise.
  • Exercise helps maintain a stable weight. Let’s face facts, a healthy, stable weight is what we all want. According to the Surgeon General, “Exercise primarily in the form of walking, along with restricted energy intake, can be expected to produce a substantially greater weight and fat loss and maintenance than either exercise or dietary energy restrictions alone.”2 Put on some good walking shoes and get started.
  • Exercise controls the appetite. That can’t be a bad thing.
  • Exercise boosts self image. There really is a psychological benefit to exercise. It has something to do with the natural chemicals released in the brain and body when we exert ourselves. In a number of studies, physical activity was associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as higher positive mood and general well-being.
  • Exercise improves muscle tone and strength. Need I say more?
  • Exercise improves flexibility. Muscular tightness and joint stiffness begin for some people in their early 30's. For me it was my late 30's, it differs for every person across every walk of life. Tight joints and muscles are generally a result of inactivity . . . without exercise you will lose that flexibility. Consistent exercise will help maintain flexibility which reduces the number of injuries which occur as human beings age.
  • Exercise improves bone density. Bone mass is related, in part, to hormonal and nutritional factors. However, it is also related to the level of physical activity in an individual. After about age 25, the mass and structural integrity of bone begins to decline in the average man or woman. If a person has a mostly sedentary lifestyle, they may be on the road to osteoporosis.
  • Exercise lowers blood pressure. According to the Surgeon General, studies have generally reported significant reductions in blood pressure following endurance training.3 With aerobic or cardiovascular training, studies have shown a general decrease in blood pressure.
  • Exercise relieves insomnia. A Stanford study suggests that as little as 45 minutes a day of exercise twice a week helps people sleep up to 45 minutes longer and substantially. However, strenuous exercise should be avoided up to six hours before bedtime, and mild exercise should be discontinued four hours prior to bedtime.
  • Exercise increases good HDL Cholesterol. Pick up a copy of my last booklet on Policosanol (Insert Name Here), also published by Woodland Publishing. You can learn why HDL Cholesterol is good for you and LDL Cholesterol is bad for you and what you can do about it.
  • Exercise prevents diabetes. The largest and most consistent difference in risk of NIDDM (non- insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) occurs between those individuals who report relatively no activity and those who report doing something. Physical activity is likely to be the most beneficial in preventing the progression of NIDDM when used during the disease process.
“The benefits of physical activity have been extolled throughout western history, but it was not until the second half of this century that scientific evidence supporting these beliefs began to accumulate. By the 1970s, enough information was available about the beneficial effects of vigorous exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Heart Association (AHA), and other national organizations began issuing physical activity recommendations to the public. These recommendations generally focused on cardiorespiratory endurance and specified sustained periods of vigorous physical activity involving large muscle groups and lasting at least 20 minutes on 3 or more days per week. As understanding of the benefits of less vigorous activity grew, recommendations followed suit. During the past few years, the ACSM, the CDC, the AHA, the PCPFS, and the NIH have all recommended regular, moderate-intensity physical activity as an option for those who get little or no exercise. The Healthy People 2000 goals for the nation's health have recognized the importance of physical activity and have included physical activity goals. The 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the basis of the federal government's nutrition-related programs, included physical activity guidance to maintain and improve weight - 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on all, or most, days of the week.” Physical Activity and Health, a Report from the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Audrey F. Manley, M.D., M.P.H., Acting Surgeon General

What it all boils down to is simply this. Exercise makes you healthier. So do it.

Diet and exercise work in concert to keep our bodies healthy at every level, including the hair, skin and nails we are discussing in this booklet. If you eat a healthy diet but don’t exercise at all – you’re losing out on the maximum benefits of both. I’m afraid we were not meant to sit in office chairs and then come home and crash on the couch for the evening. So, it’s time to get busy and find a way of eating that will work for you and a method of exercise you enjoy.

Check in next Monday for the next installment in healthy hair, skin and nails, thereby enjoying all over health.

Return to the Neighborhood.
Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 5 Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 5 Reviewed by Candace Salima on Saturday, August 30, 2008 Rating: 5