Breaking news! Exercise is good for you! Who knew?
More specifically, researchers at the University of Texas recently put out a rather interesting study regarding exercise and cellular autophagy. The study, carried out with mice, seems fairly well put together and suggests that one of the beneficial effects of exercis is to increase the body's rate of autophagy, the process by which cells clear out all the `junk' (malformed proteins, cellular respiration byproducts, invasive bugs) that accumulates.
Mice aren't a perfect analog for human anatomy, but hey, human studies are difficult and all findings should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt anyway.
So in addition to helping your metabolism operate well, keeping your muscles engaged and effective, and helping you sleep better, moving around likely increases your body's ability to clean house, cellularly speaking. This notion is nothing that health nuts and hippies hadn't already assumed, but to see it somewhat justified in a real study is interesting.
Breaking news! Sitting on your butt all day is bad for you! Who knew?
This one came out a little while ago, and caused quite a stir. However, it's not at all surprising. Since I unfortunately kind of have to be sedentary for much of the day (as explained in a little more detail below), it does hit close to home.
This is all pretty compelling stuff. Why, then, do I coninue to sit on my butt all day like a good little American? Sure, I work a stare-at-a-computer-screen-all-day job and have a 1.5 hour commute each way, but surely there's something I can do. I tried converting my desk into a standing workstation once and loved it for some reasons, but the furniture just isn't
well suited for it and my kluge-tastic adaptation attempts left much to be desired. Also, I recently got a new (huge and gorgeous) monitor that definitely won't fit on the upper shelf. What was I going to do, say no to the new beautiful monitor? Hopefully someday I'll manage to get together a real standing workstation.
I've never believed too much in exercise for its own sake, but instead just stayed active by doing useful things. When I lived in a small town I biked everywhere as a means of getting around, and participated in martial arts and dance because I was interested in those things. Those final rehearsals before a show can really be exhausting! I've always relied on my interests to keep me fit. Now, unfortunately, my situation is such that I don't particularly have time for these things that I love, so I need to find other solutions to the sedentary issue. I'm not sleeping well, feel tired all the time, and have a general lack of energy that really must be corrected.
When we first got our dog, we would take turns getting up extra-early to take him for a quick run before commencing our morning routines. What happened to this? We got too `busy,' or too attached to sleeping for an extra 15 minutes to take the time to do this simple activity that benefits both us and the pooch.
Additionally, I forget where I've read it, but as I recall many sources have pointed out that as little as 20 minutes of moving around per day has a huge effect on health, especially in short bursts of really intense activity. There seem to be diminishing returns after 20 minutes or so, so that initial getting-off-the-damn-couch move is really the most important one.
I took an unintentional hiatus from my monthly resolution thing for February, but it's time to get back on track. For March, I will bite the bullet and actually get off my bottom at least twice a week and do some meaningful amount of exercise. It might be a run around the block with the dog, a half hour spent playing DDR (my jumping-around-like-a-fool video game addiction), or taking a walk outside during my lunch break.
Okay, so it's not technically March yet, but leap day is pretty weird so I'm posting this anyway. It's my blog and I can do what I want.
This is probably the single best thing I can do for myself right now, since my current zero-level of exercise is most assuredly the limiting factor in becoming healthier. The science says so, after all!