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How Exercise Benefits Whole Body Health

How Exercise Benefits Whole Body Health

You know that exercise is key to helping you build a strong, flexible and mobile body. Along with eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding smoking – a daily exercise habit is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, many of us simply associate exercise and its benefits with our physical bodies. We read articles about how lifting weights can make us stronger, how yoga keeps us flexible, and how running or cycling will help support our heart health. Often overlooked in these articles is how exercise benefits your whole-body health. Not only does exercise build your physical muscles, it also has tremendous benefits for your whole body health. From your brain health, digestive health, mental health, immune system health, and overall ability to withstand health hazards such as illness, chronic stress, or physical stressors such as falls, accidents, and day-to-day living – exercise is your go-to support system. The thing about exercise is that it has a negative reputation. Too many of us associate exercise with grueling high school gym classes or as something we have to do rather than something we want to do. As part of the SierraSil vision to see one million or more people live healthier and more active lives, we want to help you understand how exercise benefits you – inside and out.

How Exercise Benefits Your Entire Body

Beyond supporting your joints and giving you the muscular support to easily bend your knees, carry groceries, and play a game of tennis, exercise has so many trickle-down impacts that once you realize how great exercise is for your entire body, you’ll be hooked on making it a daily practice.
  • Brain boosting chemicals: your brain on exercise is pretty incredible. From releasing feel-good endorphins to boost your mood to helping alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, exercise also helps stimulate the production of brain-deprived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a powerful brain chemical that stimulates the growth of brain cells. Exercise is primarily effective in supporting and encouraging the growth of brain cells in your hippocampus – the part of your brain responsible for memory.
  • Stress reduction: getting out for a brisk walk, run, weight-lifting session, or game of basketball is a great way to manage your stress levels. Exercise gives you a much-needed break from the stressors of work and home life. Just knowing that at the end of a busy work day, you have a yoga class or hockey game to look forward to, can make it easier to get through your day. Scientifically speaking, exercise increases the level of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate your brain response to stress, helping you better deal with mental stressors.
  • Memory support: it’s a proven fact, as you age, your memory does decline. That feeling of walking into a room and forgetting why you’re in the room or forgetting long-remembered phone numbers or the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The aging process and diseases like Alzheimer’s actually kill of brain cells, causing your brain to shrink and lose important brain functions. Exercise cannot cure dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but it can help slow the brain degeneration that happens after the age of 45.
  • Sleep and relaxation support: sleep is so critical to your ability to recharge, recover and be ready for the next day. Serving triple duty, exercise helps you relieve stress, helps you fight depression and anxiety and in turn makes it easier for you to let go and relax. At its most basic, exercise helps you tire out your body, making it easier for you to sleep and even take afternoon naps.
  • Self-confidence booster: think of how great you feel after you’ve gone for a run or met up with friends for hike in the woods. There is a feeling of accomplishment for setting a goal and achieving it and this activity gives you confidence in your body. You know that your body can support you in your activity and exercise goals and routines. There are of course the feelings that come when you like what you see in the mirror – let’s not forget that exercise does help you build muscles and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Inspiration for others: have you ever watched the end of an Ironman triathlon or your local marathon? You see regular people, just like you, achieving overwhelming athletic and mental success. There is something special that happens when you see or read about a person who has overcome challenges and stayed focus on their exercise or sport-related goal. Now think of how you can do this for others – it might not seem like a big deal, but your daily walk can inspire your friends and family to be more active and healthy.
  • Problem solving and deep thinking: a walk, run, swim, cycle or weight work-out can do wonders for clearing your mind and help you get into a deep thinking and problem-solving mode. Many people use their daily exercise routine to help them work through challenges and even to tap into their creativity.
  • Immune system health: your immune system is key to protecting you from toxins, viruses, bacteria and illness. When you exercise you strengthen your heart, help flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways, change the antibodies and white blood cells to help your immune system better detect disease, and slow the release of stress hormones.
  • Joint health support: your joints are supported by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other fibers. The stronger these supporting fibers, the more support you’re able to give to your knees, elbows, wrists, hips, ankles, back, and other joints. This makes it easier for you to move your body, develop joint health, and manage the impacts of conditions such as arthritis.
  • Social community: it’s very easy to become disconnected from friends and your social community. You go to work, come home, watch some television and repeat this daily. By joining a sports team or participating in a regular exercise group, you’re extending and broadening your social community, making it easier to make friends and feel connected to your community. This social community is super important to you overall mental and emotional health – we all need friends to talk to, hang out with, walk with, and rely on when we’re struggling.
Visit the SierraSil Facebook community and tell us how you’re going to move and exercise every day. Remember, this exercise doesn’t need to be exhausting – it should be something you can do daily and look forward to doing. Think of ways you can easily incorporate daily exercise into your routine: a walk at the end of the work day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting involved with coaching your children’s sports team, joining a tennis club, taking out a membership at your local yoga studio, or getting out for a bike ride. There are so many ways you can make exercise a part of your daily life – the rewards are endless. We guarantee you’ll feel good about this new habit.

How To Eat For Your Health

How To Eat For Your Health
Your health is important to you. You want to have energy. You want to wake up each day excited for what the day brings. You want to feel and look good. You want to enjoy your favorite sports and activities. This is why we want you to understand the importance of eating for your health. You can do all the running, bodybuilding, stretching, and yoga you want – but without a healthy diet, you’re missing the cornerstone to a healthy life. Small changes in your diet can add up to huge benefits for you immune system health, your joint health, your ability to recover from injury, and your chances of preventing illness. It’s important to remember that the diet so many of us enjoyed in our 20’s is not the one that will see us all living well into our 90’s. While there aren’t any guaranteed ways to prevent disease, we do know that eating a healthy diet goes a long way in aiding in the prevention of and recovery from disease, illness, and injury. And yes, we all know the person who ate super healthy and ran every day, who still died suddenly from heart problems or cancer. But, we want you to put this negative example aside and think about what you want from life and how you’re going to achieve it. Could you make small changes to your diet that would lessen your joint discomfort or make it easier for you to play tennis? Signs Of Poor Nutrition Because our bodies need different nutrients as we age, it’s easy to accidentally fall into eating habits that result in poor age-related nutrition. What you ate and could live well on in your 20’s and 30’s, is not the same now when you’re in 50’s and beyond. It’s important you’re aware of these signs of poor nutrition. We want you to talk to your healthcare provider if you recognize any of these signs of poor nutrition.
  • Fatigue and tiredness. Constant feelings of fatigue, exhaustion, and tiredness can be indicators that you’re not getting enough iron and/or protein.
  • Dry hair and skin. Your body sends much needed resources such as vitamins, iron, and protein to your largest organs. This means that when you’re low on key essentials, your hair and skin can suffer.
  • Dental and mouth problems. A deficiency in vitamin C can cause bleeding gums and gum disease.
  • Digestive problems. Diarrhea and constipation can be signs that your diet is missing key nutrients and essentials including zinc and fiber.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice these or other new symptoms. Track your food and beverage intake for a week or so and bring this with you – this can help your healthcare provider notice any trends and gaps in your diet. Eating For Your Joint Health Along with getting daily exercise, taking natural joint supplements, and listening to your body, what you eat can make a big difference in your joint health. It’s no secret that we are what we eat, so start incorporating these key foods in your diet to support your joint health.
  • Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are sweet little nuggets of antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Berries contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, both of which have been proven to help decrease inflammation.
  • Nuts. Many people fear nuts due to the high fat content, but your body needs this fat to support the immune system and defend against inflammation.
  • Vibrant orange vegetables. Vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potato get their vibrancy from vitamin A and beta-carotene. These key nutrients are essential in reducing inflammation, and they taste delicious.
  • Greens. You’ve been told countless times to eat your greens, and for good reason. Dark green vegetables such as kale, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are jam-packed full of goodness including sulforaphane, a compound that can block enzymes associated with joint discomfort and inflammation.
  • Oily fish. Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other oily fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce joint discomfort and reduce inflammation.
  • Red apples and onions. These two common foods are high in quercetin, an antioxidant that has strong links to reducing arthritis and associated joint discomfort.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric is gaining in popularity for the health benefits of curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to help reduce inflammation and to aid in the recovery of the impacts of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Tell us how you eat to support your joint health. Visit our SierraSil Facebook community page and tell us about your favorite joint health recipes. Enjoy These Summer Favorites The summer season provides us with a rich bounty of fresh, local, and delicious fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of the season and enjoy these great tasting foods that also have tremendous health benefits.
  • Tomatoes. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and lycopene – these red fruits (yes tomatoes are a fruit not a vegetable) are so good for you and easy to eat.
  • Zucchini. You or someone you know is likely dealing with an abundance of freshly grown zucchini. Eat this vibrant green vegetable raw or cooked and reap the benefits of pectin in helping to support heart health.
  • Watermelon. It’s super easy to get dehydrated in the summer. Sliced watermelon, watermelon granita, or watermelon smoothies are a great way to get a sweet treat and rehydrate on a hot summer day.
  • Apples, figs, and pears. These highly portable fruits are high in fiber and easy to eat wherever you are. Make sure you eat the skin to get the full fiber and nutritional benefits from these fruits.
  • Avocado. More than a food trend with the ever-popular avocado toast, this creamy and versatile vegetable is rich in monosaturated fat. Enjoy avocadoes on toast, in guacamole, in a salad dressing, in a smoothie, or simply sliced with some salt and pepper.
We want you to feel your best and one of the keys to this is eating well. Eating for your health doesn’t mean you need to give up ice cream, pizza, or other favorites – it just means that you need to find a balance. Look for ways to add in an extra serving of vegetables or how to incorporate fruit into your dessert, there are lots of delicious and easy ways to eat for your health.