August 2014 Challenge: Shake It. Move It. Do It.

There's no away around it. Just like you must eat vegetables every day, you must also move your body every single day. If you don't love to exercise or are in a rut, get ready to be inspired. If you love exercise but your challenge lies with fitting it into a busy day, get ready for the best time-crunched workouts. This month is all about exercise. Find something you love to do, shake it, move it and just do it.Why? You likely know that you should exercise but do you have a deep appreciation and respect for the profound impact exercise has on your body and life? These are the 10 Ten Reasons Why You Should Exercise Every Single Day*.*Okay, you don't have to hit the gym everyday, but you do have to move. Rest days matter, and so take one or two days "off" each week. On your rest days, go to the park and play, go for a walk, get in the pool, clean your house or do some yard work. Just keep moving.Ten Reasons Why You Should Exercise Every Single Day10.  Exercise ensures that you remain functional and independent as you age. No matter what your age is now, you want to be able to get out of a chair unassisted when you are older, right? And reach above your head? Bend down to put on your shoe? Pick up your grandchildren? If you don't work your muscles they will become useless and wither away. Exercise builds bone, improves balance and increases strength, leading you to an independent life.Here's a great functional test: get down on the ground and stand up without pushing yourself off the ground. Use your core and leg strength to get up. If you can't do it, I see some supervised strength training in your future.9. Exercise relieves stress. Exercise can also be a stressor, so be careful with this one. While exercise has been shown to mitigate the physiological impact of chronic stress, you must be well equipped with a variety of stress management strategies in order to stay healthy.8. Exercise allows creative processes to occur. During exercise, you mind will wander and solutions to problems magically appear. The next time you are "stuck" or "blocked" with a challenge or problem, head out for a workout. You'll probably run right into a solution.7. Exercise reduces inflammation, improves insulin function and promotes efficient burning of energy. Inflammation is at the root of nearly all chronic diseases from diabetes, cancer and heart disease to arthritis, depression and GI problems. Regular, not excessive or compulsive, exercise helps to control the inflammatory response, leading to improved metabolic and cellular function. The implications of this effect are enormous.6. Exercise gives you a bonus 3 years. Research published earlier this year replicated what we've known for a long time: exercise extends longevity. This study demonstrated 29% and 50% lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular-related death in regular exercisers compared to never exercisers. Researchers also estimated that regular exercisers gained 3-year life expectancy. And for those that exercise, the extra three years would likely be a functional three years.5. Exercise gives you a big head. No, not an ego. Literally the size of your brain grows. Exercise stimulates production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been called Miracle-Grow for your brain. BDNF improves function of neurons, encourages new neurons to grow and keeps them around longer. The result: improved neurological function, better mood and delay of cognitive decline.4. Exercise provides mental health benefits. While controlled studies are forthcoming, research indicates the clinical benefit for exercise in preventing and managing anxiety, dementia, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders. The benefits of exercise on mental health likely related back to reduced inflammation and increased BDNF.3. Exercise improves sleep. There is a growing body of literature that supports the use of exercise to treat sleep disturbances. In people with sleep complaints initiation of an exercise regimen shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep.2. Exercise boosts your sex life. Exercise improves body image and self-esteem, which in turns improves sexuality. In men, exercise improves erectile dysfunction.1. Exercise improves energy level and productivity. The most common reasons my patients report for not exercising is not having the time or energy. It turns out exercise is the key to creating more time and more energy.Bottom Line: Shake It. Move It. Do It. This month your challenge is to start an exercise program or step it up a notch if you are already moving.Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.