4 reasons why you need to get off your chair and move

From flushing toxins to enhancing your mood, practicing any kind of movement routine, be it yoga, walking or running, has a range of benefits

Subah Saraf, Harshvardhan Saraf
First Published10 Jul 2024, 06:00 PM IST
One of the biggest myths is that exercise is meant only for weight loss. Fact is movement is essential for everyone irrespective of age, health or weight.
One of the biggest myths is that exercise is meant only for weight loss. Fact is movement is essential for everyone irrespective of age, health or weight. (Unsplash/Gabin Vallet)

From an external perspective, you might just seem to be jogging, jumping or dancing. But just a few minutes into your movement routine, a carefully choreographed process is initiated within your body, which is not apparent from the outside. It is invisible to the naked eye.

Your heart quickens its rhythm. The heart rate of an average adult at a restful state is about 60–100 beats per minute, but during intense exercise, it can surge to approximately 150–180 beats per minute. As your heart beats faster, it begins to pump more life-giving blood. This newly pumped blood then flows like a river through your veins, through your arteries, to every corner of your body.

Also read: What is the 12-3-30 workout and should you do it?

You can even see this for yourself. Have you ever noticed the ‘pinking up’ of your skin after a few minutes of exercise? It’s a sign that blood has circulated through your entire body, including beneath your skin’s surface, and hence your skin turns a little pink.

This boost in blood circulation during exercise is actually a powerful process that leads to many other processes inside your body. Let’s understand the four most important ones:

More oxygen for your cells: This circulated blood carries oxygen. In other words, exercise essentially delivers more oxygen to every cell of your body. Remember, oxygen is like food for your cells, keeping them active and healthy. So, through exercise, each cell of your body gets bathed in oxygen, getting its proper nourishment.

In fact, research studies clearly show a direct correlation between a person’s health and the level of oxygen in their bloodstream.

Dr Otto Warburg, twice Nobel Laureate, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on cellular respiration, discovered that unlike all other cells in the human body, cancer cells do not breathe oxygen. He explains how the growth of cancer cells is initiated by a relative lack of oxygen, and how cancer cannot live in an oxygen-rich environment.

Getting rid of toxins: As your blood circulation increases with exercise, waste products and toxins inside the cells get dislodged. In other words, toxins, which were once stationary, are stirred from their resting places and set into motion. Then, as you sweat, the body often expels these toxins. Sweat is not just your body’s cooling system; it’s also a waste disposal service. Through sweat, you’re getting rid of toxins and waste products, creating a cleaner internal environment.

The Satvic Revolution: 7 Life-Changing Habits to Discover Peak Health and Joy, published by Penguin Random House India, 496 pages, 499

Digestive boost: As your blood circulation increases with exercise, your digestive organs, including the stomach, receive more blood, improving their efficiency. Your digestive fire becomes stronger. As a result, when you consistently exercise, your praanshakti can digest food faster and more effectively. Today, many of the diseases that we suffer from, as a society, such as diabetes, obesity and thyroid imbalance, are metabolic disorders, which stem from sluggish digestion. Movement is a direct way to drastically improve digestion.

Uplifts your mood: All our lives, we’re made to believe that exercise is needed for physical fitness. However, today, society has come to realise that exercise isn’t just for physical fitness but also for our mental well-being. In fact, movement is one of the most transformative things that you can do for your brain. A single workout makes your brain immediately release dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin. These are also known as ‘happy hormones’, and they instantly improve your mood.

To better understand this relationship, an interesting study was conducted by the University of Vermont in 2015. In this study, researchers analysed data from approximately 13,000 high school students. They discovered that exercising for four or more days per week was linked not only to significant reductions in sadness among these students but it also resulted in a 23 per cent reduction in suicide attempts among bullied students!

Astonishing, isn’t it?

To summarise, movement improves the functioning of every part of your body. On the other hand, if you’re not getting enough exercise in your week, chances are that you will have a weakened digestive fire and, consequently, slow and sluggish digestion. This gives rise to bloating, lethargy and tiredness in the day. It will also lead to reduced efficiency of the organs, which may manifest as increased symptoms of any chronic health problem. Remember: A body in motion stays alive. A body without motion decomposes.

The biggest myth about exercise

Before we dive into practical suggestions, it’s essential to clear up one common misconception. Many of us believe that exercise is meant for weight loss, that if we don’t need to lose weight, exercise is not that important for us.

This is actually a big myth.

Sure, if you’re carrying excess weight, exercise greatly helps in shedding those extra kilos. But, if you’re underweight, exercise is just as important. It is essential to build strength in your muscles which eventually helps in weight gain. It also greatly enhances your body’s ability to absorb the nutrition from your food.

That said, the type of exercise needed varies for different body types. If you’re on the heavier side, movements that increase the heart rate and make you break into a sweat may be more beneficial. If you’re lean or underweight, exercises that focus on muscle building, using external weights or just your body’s weight, may be more suitable.

The bottom line is that movement is essential for everyone, irrespective of age, health or weight. It’s a universal health booster.

Excerpted with permission from Penguin Random House India from The Satvic Revolution:7 Life-Changing Habits to Discover Peak Health and Joy by Subah and Harshvardhan Saraf.

Also read: How India’s fastest hurdler is preparing for the Olympics

 

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First Published:10 Jul 2024, 06:00 PM IST
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