Run, Bike, Swim, and Eat your Arteries in to Shape!

Why do you exercise? To feel great, have more energy, live longer, look good, lose weight, to challenge yourself, or is it to improve your arteries nitric oxide usage and reduce your free radical vessel damage to the level of a 20 year old?  I am guessing it is more the former and less the later. The truth is I don’t care why you exercise, I just care that you do. Here is why …

As you probably know, chances are greatest that if you live in the USA, you will probably die from heart disease. I know that sounds bad, but it is the truth.  Heart disease is the number one killer in our country. Because of this I want to take this month’s blog to explain to you just how powerful regular exercise can be to keep you healthy and living longer.

The term heart disease is really misleading. Yes, heart disease usually ends up in the heart failing during a heart attack, but it’s not the heart that started the problem.  It’s the arteries that start the problem. Due to incorrect diet, lack of exercise, genetics, hormonal changes from stress, and probably a number of other things, American’s arteries become injured and scarred, more and more as we age. Just like a healing scar on our skin, the inside of our arteries become filled with scare tissue in the aging process. Eventually, this leads to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, stroke, aneurysm, heart attacks, etc…

This process can be highly influenced by life style and, in particular exercise.  A very interesting study, published in the journal Circulation, compared the health of arteries in sedentary and exercising people in their 20’s and in their 60’s. The Italian scientists discovered an amazing thing.  The people in their 60’s that exercised regularly had blood vessels that were just as healthy as the people that exercised in their 20’s.  WOW!!!  That means exercising had an “anti-aging” effect on the person’s blood vessels.

It turned out that people who exercise have healthier levels of two things that the scientists were able to measure. The first was nitric oxide. It is a chemical produced in the vessels that helps keep the arteries elastic when present in the correct amounts. One hallmark of aging blood vessels is that they become very stiff as we age.This causes high blood pressure and further injures the arteries.

The second thing that improved was the presence of free radicals in the interior artery walls. Free radicals are like stray bullets that shoot holes in our cells. Every time a hole is shot in a cell, the body has to repair the cell. When this happens, too much scar tissue and inflammation result in our arteries. This is the cause of placqing in our arteries. The group of 60+ year olds that regularly exercised had the same amount of free radicles as the 20 year olds did. The sedentary group of 60+ year olds had much more.

I know of no medication that can do this exact combination of things for our arterial health. While we might have all known, what this study has shown us innately, it is great to see it confirmed. Exercising on its own can really change many factors of our health. Just imagine when exercising is coupled with eating 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. That’s a powerful combination.

If you are itching to get exercising, let one of the Eagle Chiropractic docs know, and we will gladly help you get up and running. (Pun intended.)

Categories: in Health and Wellness