Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Exercise or Healthy Food

I rarely talk about exercise on this blog, mostly because I think it's a small part of life and should in general stay that way on my blog. But it is important in its own little way. So I'm going to do a couple posts on it.

Today is a very different place than it was in the generations past. Much of the work done today is very brainy. We get things done with machines that once took hundreds of man hours and lots of sweat. We used to have to grow gardens and hunt for meat in the woods to just provide a day to day existence. At one time the rich were seen as those who were able to sit around all day and eat. The upper-class would be defined as those who were vastly overweight. And in reality, many of us are very wealthy today, in the same sense that food is easily available and physical labor isn't necessarily needed.

Today is very different. Much of the food today can be got by burning 5-10 calories of walking out to our car and drive 10 minutes over to a grocery store, maybe even to buy some healthy groceries, and then back home and having to burn another 15 calories while bringing the food inside our house. Then we collapse on the couch and watch tv or clickity clack on our computers. And this will overall lead to an unhealthy life longterm. We literally never have to walk anywhere. We don't have to walk to the grocery store, we don't have to bike to work, we can do everything in our cars. Exercise has become an afterthought.

Motivation is kind of a new thing we have to deal with, more than ever before in the terms of exercise. It's something I struggle with every day. I still try to do a couple runs a week, a couple P90x workouts, and some other random bike rides and such.

I know quite a few people like to eat healthy, but if you eat healthy and eat 3x what you should, is it really eating healthy? Also, how about when your body begins to slow down? Many people I know tend to be skinny when their bodies process tons of food and they have a fast metabolism, but as they reach their 40s and 50s they begin to grow that gut or hips and store a little extra fat here and there. This is where I think exercise comes in. It's going to help keep your body's metabolism up. It's going to help burn off those excess calories. It's going to help produce the testosterone/estrogen one's body needs.

I think people sometimes try to solve all their problems by just eating less/more healthy. And of course this is a great way, but it just doesn't do what exercise does. Most people I know who try dieting lose 5-10 lbs here and there. But someone who not only cuts back on how they eat, but also begins a daily exercise regimen keeps that weight off.

Exercise is going to help men produce more testosterone. This is an age where testosterone levels are fairly low, mainly because men are incredibly over weight. And how do we combat this? Healthy food of course, but exercise is one of the best ways. I.e. Squats would be one of the best.

Or, how about for ladies. When having children, women are going to gain on average 8-10 lbs of extra fat, of which a woman will generally drop if she breastfeeds her children. But at the same time, her estrogen levels can tend to drop when she breastfeeds. And what helps produce estrogen? Exercise.

As a young person, you have to build your habits now. At this point you may not have to worry about how much you eat. But at some point you're going to need the character to keep that weight off. Build those exercise habits. It's what's going to help you keep that weight off long term. (And even if you never struggle with weight, the health benefits are a good plus)

I occasionally get tired of people who are always talking about healthy food and yet exercise once a month. It feels they're unbalanced. Sure, healthy food is great. But if you completely ignore the fact that exercise is also an important factor in the unhealthiness of today's age, I feel you can end up just as unhealthy in the long term as others.

And one more thing, I absolutely hate the emphasis our culture puts on being thin. It's like we have this obsession with anorexic people. This emphasis is placed on women in a big way. The thing is, thin doesn't mean healthy. I've known plenty of thin people who would walk a mile and collapse in exhaustion. Instead, we should focus on healthy. Our bodies generally will find a healthy place that they like to be in. You fight to get it down, but it won't go much farther. That's kind of a good place to be.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


Pinecone said...

Good stuff (again. Hey, it really is good stuff).

In my experience, exercise really helps us enjoy God's world much better.

And I like seeing young men doing push-ups. Why? Obviously it takes discipline... but more importantly, a man is the first line of defense for his home. When I see young men prepare for that role, I'm happy.