While the simplistic view that the heart is a pump was believed for many years, this hypothesis is changing as we understand more and more about the complexity of the how the heart actually works, as well as the circulatory system of the human body.
(To learn more about this, watch Dr. Cowan’s video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUCBEKO3IJc
or read his book Human Heart, Cosmic Heart).
While this idea that the heart is not a pump raises many questions, the certainty of the importance of exercise is not up for debate.
Activity, Exercise, Movement, whatever you prefer to call it, supports our cardiovascular system for a variety of reasons. It helps to ensure a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to our tissues. Physical activity also helps to push waste products towards the elimination organs.
Did you know that the body prefers to have a maximum of one teaspoon worth of sugar circulating in the body at any given time? Our muscle cells, (which can use glucose or ketones for energy) use up available glucose which in turn helps to regulate blood glucose levels, and prevents some of this glucose being converted to fat.
Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity. Sensitivity refers to how responsive a cell is to insulin. In other words, how well the muscle cell is actually taking up and using the glucose. Therefore insulin also plays a role in keeping our blood sugar stable.
Now, exercise may include any kind of physical activity. Some people favour strength training, others prefer marathons, triathlons or other endurance feats, while others still, prefer a hike in the forest.
Personally, I prefer any physical activity that gets me outdoors and into nature. Since the birth of my son, I've taken to carrying him on long walks with the dog. Now that he's over 25lbs, walking up hills in particular are an excellent cardiovascular workout! If you don't have a baby to carry, there are some excellent weighted packs available through Evolved Motion that I have personally used and highly recommend.
It's also important to note that consistent movement throughout the day is the best approach. So if you work a desk job, it's crucial to get up and move around frequently throughout the day; a one-hour gym session cannot compensate for sitting for 8 hours. Us humans were meant to move!!
Whatever physical activity you partake in, I think it’s extremely important to be involved in something that you enjoy and keeps your life interesting through the learning of new things.
We know that the heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle, we have to challenge it to make it stronger; why not challenge our brains at the same time?
What are your current favourite types of exercises? Do they change season to season? Let me know!
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