One of the important things we ask our patients is “how often do you exercise?”. When we ask this question we are tapping into different systems in regards to the brain, body, and nutrition.
Exercise, in our minds, consists of the following:
-Biomechanics of the feet, knees, hips, pelvis and low back, as well as the upper extremity
-Neurology, the coordination of all of your muscles that are in proper alignment, as well as the vestibular system to help keep your head stable as you run/walk/jump/elliptical/swim etc
-Blood sugar utilization and peripheral insulin resistance- that it is as optimal as possible. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes, and all medical therapies for this tend to keep you from getting worse, but it is mainly a lifestyle, nutrition and exercise problem.
-Nitric Isomer systems- there are 3 nitric oxide systems to our bodies, iNOS, nNOS, and eNOS, of which iNOS=inflammatory=BAD. Exercise helps to boost the other 2 NOS systems and help to promote cardiovascular health.
I could continue for hours on this topic, but health is ultimately a balance of exercise, nutrions, movement, and neurological stability.
A Chiropractor/Nurse Practitioner colleague of mine wrote this just today on exercise:
People need to work out!!! After reviewing the things that need to be stimulated in exercises to be healthy and see benefit, the list is very specific and involves the following:
Growth Hormone: If you want that brain to grow and have synaptic connections and at the same time, gain lean muscle mass, GH has to go up and work harmoniously with insulin, thyroid and testosterone or other androgens. Exogenous usage has to be done very carefully and if it is used, it can really throw off multiple other systems and create a nasty web of dysfunction.
Opiod Release: Super important. This heals the body, slows pain, makes you happy and lowers immune overactivity in autoimmune disease. These are great things. Exogenous opiod usage will cause dependance and addiction, not a good choice and really is not even an option unless you are really injured and are monitored by a good pain management doctor.
Nitric Oxides: These guys protect the brain, make blood vessels open to deliver nutrients and if some are to high, cells explode and die. eNOS, nNOS and iNOS are the players. All need to go up but iNOS, if it goes up, cells go boom. Nitric isomer boosters can give some interesting side effects, if you know what I mean, boing!!
Brain derived neurotrophic factors: Without these the brain does not stay healthy, create plasticity, grow, shape, learn, or respond to exercise and in return, activate muscles for better growth and function. Truth be known, there are no drugs for these….Sorry
Insulin receptor sensitivity: If you want to get overweight, have bad lipids, fall asleep in the afternoon and have low hormones, this is the definite the way to go. The medications for this issue does not fix the problem, which is usually diet, lifestyle and exercise, not a drug to cover it up.
Immune enhancement: We have to have this to not be sick, but not only that, some types of immune enhancement means immune regulation, protein availability for muscle growth and normal gut function for absorption. This is so important to those who get sick a lot, have chronic disease, autoimmune related inflammation and degenerative disease due to elevated acute phase reactants or to those who want to bodybuild.
Last, a person has to watch out for over training syndrome and the inability for the adrenals to keep up with the level that an athlete is putting into what they are doing day to day. if this gets out of control, it is all for not and the side effects will far outweigh any gains or benefits from exercise.
What is the one link to ALL of the aforementioned???? Exercise. Thats right, high intensity, interval training with resistance will boost all of them and requires less time so the adrenals can typically handle the duration, amount and type of exercises. Steady state, low impact exercises that go on and on hurt your adrenals and do very little to the aforementioned biochemical cast members.
So, high intensity burst exercises that get the core and multiple body parts that are reflexogenically coordinated and body movement appropriate with resistance that apply to specific brain needs are the way to go. Doing this first, before exogenous administration of hormones or drugs might be a good idea, before the complicated web of hormone treatment and so forth gets altered and becomes a nightmare to unwind.
On a separate note, a patient must combine exercise and diet and ultimately control blood sugar, stay away from inflammatory peptides and foods they are allergic to and if there is infection such as SIBO or hidden viruses, certain carbs, starches and sugars need to be avoided and infections reduced. To put it bluntly, each person realistically should have a “metabolically individualized diet”. Where brain, blood sugar, cortisol capacity, gut biota, food allergens and underlying diseases are all taken into consideration and the ability to do exercises at a rate that is intense but not to long and not involve to much is key. When this all lines up……magi happens.