Exercise Can Increase Aging and Free Radical Production, But You Should Still Do It

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Exercise Is Harmful to Your Health?!

Far from it! Exercise is almost a necessary nutrient for human survival, to help keep you healthy in mind and body, and will move you through life much easier in many ways. Exercise helps speed up metabolism (which may be good or bad depending on who you ask), decreases food cravings, supports a positive mood and outlook and fights aging. It helps prevent degenerative disease and aids in immune function. What couldn’t be better than that?

Too much exercise, on the other hand, especially in untrained individuals, or individuals who are obsessed with the feeling exercise brings (on the verge of being a mental illness—it happens), is most certainly harmful to your health, and could actually increase your risk for developing disease. If you suspect you or your loved one may suffer from this in any way, please look into seeking help from a certified health practitioner. My favorite method of fighting addictions, such as related to exercise, fall into hypnosis and EFT, or emotional freedom technique. I shall blog more about these topics soon.

Free Radicals and Exercise

According to this Rice University article, endurance exercise increqases free radicals within the body. Free radicals accerlate the aging process and have been directly linked to cancer. Do you ever see long-distance runners, in the 40s, thin as a rail, and full of wrinkles? Long endurance exercise can create a significant amount of damage, and this is only one example.

Some studies support signs showing that exercise helps enhance the antioxidant defense system within the body, but it is unknown as to what extent this plays. Exercise is an important nutrient, like I mentioned earlier, and it is incredibly potent for increasing your health and wellness. This means that just because exercise increases free radical production, doesn’t mean you should stop it altogether. There are things you can do, some you are probably doing right now, that can protect you from these free radicals, and aid in cellular repair after exercise.

Your Best Defense

Antioxidants. These are your best defense against free radicals. Where do you get them? Well, if you are implementing a natural, healthy (and hopefully organic and/or local), then you are receiving many antioxidants from your food (and even, perhaps, your beauty products, depending on what you use).

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, and is found in many nuts and seeds. My favorite source is from homemade sunflower seed butter. I have an update for my old sunflower seed butter that I will deliver in the next post, so stay tuned for that! One study showed that rats fed an organic diet had higher levels of vitamin E in their blood. I am not sure how well that translates in humans, but if you have a pet rat, you might as well keep them healthy too!

Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, is also a good antioxidant. You can find this in most leafy greens, and it is especially high in carrots and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are much better than white potatoes (which I avoid at a ll cost due to their glycemic load and the way they affect insulin levels), so if you do not follow a strict low-carb diet, half of a sweet potato, balanced with good protein and fat (a little real butter or coconut oil, raw sour cream, raw cheese) will help slow down the insulin response and produce a slower emptying from your stomach, helping you feel satisfied for much longer.

Vitamin C, from most vegetables and citrus fruits (limit fruits if overweight or have high triglycerides), provide a good source of antioxidants to protect your body from free radical damage.

By balancing a healthy exercise program with a healthy diet, you are going to create incredibly and powerful change to your health and your life. Increasing your vegetable intake isn’t enough—you must have balance! Exercise is one of the components you must incorporate if you want to feel and be truly healthy. If energy prohibits you from exercising, start by changing your diet first, and then, after a week or two, start to walk. Just walk. You can start to investigate other exercise avenues as you build up your strength, endurance and health.

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More articles on exercise and free radicals:

The Nutrition Reporter – The Exercise Paradox

Study Showing Exercise Increases Free Radical Production



This is The Healthy Advocate.

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2 Responses to “Exercise Can Increase Aging and Free Radical Production, But You Should Still Do It”
  1. Lillea 14 August 2010 at 2:11 am #

    Awesome. The great thing is that exercise can be so simple – no need to go to a gym if a person doesn’t want to. For example, I love to walk, and so do most of my friends, so when we visit each other we often go out for a walk and talk. Before we know it, we’ve walked for a long time (several hours!) and barely noticed that much time has passed because we’re having such a great conversation. I also pace back and forth when I talk on the phone. I have sometimes walked for 4 hrs doing that! Or just a brief burst of activity works. A sprint, a few push-ups, spread throughout a day. One of my favorite health and fitness researchers, Arthur De Vany, has talked a lot about this – how being active in a more spontaneous, less structured way, seems to be very healthy and mimics what hunter gatherers do. http://www.arthurdevany.com/

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