When it comes to health it seems that many people are just looking for that magic pill. Something simple that they can take every day to keep their bodies functional and vibrant. But like so many other things in life, it just doesn't work that way. A recent study points this out in a dramatic way. It's not a pill. It's a way of living.
As many of you already know, it is the uncontrolled action of free radical and oxidant molecules that cause us to age and eventually die. Fortunately, we have special antioxidant enzymes that control these molecules. But the problem is that as we get older these enzymes decrease and the aging process escalates. So the Holy Grail of anti-aging medicine is to find ways to maintain high levels of these enzymes even as we get very old.
In this study, the researchers took 34 men between the ages of 19-29. They measured their antioxidant status at rest and after three forms of exercise. One form was light exercise. The next was more intensive. And the third form was very intensive. Then they measured the antioxidant status in four different ways.
The first way was Total Antioxidant Status or TAS. This is a blood test that measures the blood's ability to control free radical and oxidant molecules. The remaining three tests simply measured the amount of the antioxidant enzymes that are so critical: glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. The higher the levels of these enzymes, the less free radical and oxidant damage there will be, and the slower you will age. What they found will hopefully propel you not only to go to the gym on a regular basis, but to do some hard work while you are there.
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The results were dramatic for two reasons. First, every single measurement went up with each exercise. And not only did all of the measurements increase, but the harder the exercise was, the greater the increase. Second, there is absolutely no drug or nutritional pill that you can take that will get these results. The only way you can get them is through exercise.
So let these results inspire you to exercise regularly and hard. You will live longer and better. And you'll save a lot of money otherwise spent on medical bills. But that's not all. I also want you to exercise smarter. And here's how you do that.
Set your exercise machine to a resistance setting that is about midway. For example, if the resistance goes from 1-20, set it for 10-13. Then set up a timer. I use the one on my smart phone. The exercise protocol consists of five one minute cycles. Each cycle consists of: 30 seconds at a very easy pace, 20 seconds at a moderate more strenuous pace, and 10 seconds at a very strenuous pace. After five cycles like this, you take a two minute rest break. You then repeat this system of five minutes of exercise followed by two minutes of rest two more times. The whole thing will take you a total of 19 minutes. That's not much. But because you are exercising in this way, you will get more out of that 19 minutes than you would exercising for twice as long in the usual way. If you just make it a habit to do this simple routine three times a week, I can guarantee you that you will boost your antioxidant enzymes and live longer and better.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
C. Berzosa, I. Cebrián, L. Fuentes-Broto, et al. Acute Exercise Increases Plasma Total Antioxidant Status and Antioxidant Enzyme Activities in Untrained Men. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Volume 2011 (2011).
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