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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Exercising Regularly Towards A Healthy Life

(Intro Note: It is my intention, when I write, to share with you, friends, information that may help you feel or become well or better.  Having worked in U.S. naval hospitals and/or medical centers and clinics for twenty years, I've learned (from my life-work experience) at least something about how to live a healthy life and to get well, when not feeling good, with all the training and education I pursued, and provided to me by the United States Navy of which I'm forever and sincerely grateful for. Thanks.)

At some point in our life, we encounter and experience discomfort or unpleasant feeling both in mind and body to the extent that we get sick, literally. But educating (and equipping) ourselves by knowing/learning about health and other pertinent (medical, nursing) information helps a lot in preventing, managing, overcoming a malady to creep into our (bodily) system. In short, empowering ourselves is one of the keys to help make us feel better. I'm sure you've heard of one of the most popular words ever in personality development--- reinvention. Whether we like it or not, we change in all aspects of our being. We metamorphose for as long as we are alive. Yes, we undergo phases of transformation in life, while at the same time continue to battle or wage war against "invaders" that harm us, make us uncomfortable and sick. And the only one who can achieve and experience this evolution in one's life is we ourselves, because we are the beneficiaries of change (and information explosion brought about by computer/internet technology).

Now, the title of my blog post is exercising regularly towards a healthy life. This idea may have different meanings to different persons who read this post. Exercising our will power to change us is one. Another is exercising our rights as human beings in order to attain/maintain a healthy lifestyle. Still another meaning is exercising regularly, physically-speaking, to overcome whatever health/medical problems we have. Since I'm mentioning about health, or wellness, let me stick to my intent which is physical/mental exercise to reduce our risk of catching (viral) cold. I hope we're all settled on this issue.

According to The American Council on Exercise, regular exercise can help keep our immune system in good shape. Researchers have been providing us with answers regarding this matter. Fitness enthusiasts have been quick to point out that regular exercise lessen (their) sickness than their sedentary colleagues or counterparts.
A survey conducted in 1980s showed that 61 percent of 700 recreational runners reported fewer colds since they started running, (or jogging or brisk-walking) while only 4 percent felt they had experienced more (colds).

Further research revealed that during moderate exercise, several positive changes occur in the immune system.

Various immune cells circulate through the body more quickly, and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. Once the moderate exercise bout is over, the immune system returns to normal within a few hours.

In other words, each time we go on a brisk walk, our immune system receives a boost that should increase our chances of fighting off cold viruses over the long term.

Fitness enthusiasts and enduring athletes alike are often uncertain of whether they should exercise or rest when sick. Although more research is needed, most sports medicine experts in this field recommend that if you have symptoms of common cold with no fever (i.e., symptoms are above the neck), moderate exercise such as walking is probably safe. Intensive exercise should be postponed until a few days after the symptoms have gone away. However, if there are signs or symptoms of the flu (i.e., fever, extreme fatigue or tiredness, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands/nodes), then at least two weeks should probably be allowed before you resume intensive training. Reminder: Always consult with your doctor before you resume your physical fitness regimen or training.

Now, let's bear in mind that there's always an exception to every rule, that one thing may not be applicable to another. It's not one size fits all, especially with regards to health and physical exercise and fitness training.

For athletes who are training intensely for competition, here are the following guidelines that can help reduce their odds of getting sick: 1) Eat a well-balanced diet. The immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals for optimal function. However, at this time, there is no good data to support supplementation beyond 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. 2) Avoid rapid weight loss. Low-calorie diets, long-term fasting and rapid weight loss have been shown to impair immune function. Losing weight while training heavily is not good for the immune system. 3) Obtain adequate sleep. Major sleep disruption (e.g., three hours less than normal) has been linked to immune suppression. 4) Avoid over-training and chronic fatigue. Space vigorous workouts and race events as far apart as possible. Keep "within yourself" and don't push beyond your ability to recover.

This is all for now, folks. Until next time around, so stay fit and healthy, and keep the faith alive! Have a cheerful, wonderful day!-chris a. quilpa, 15February2012

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