The HEALTH SLAM DUNK – 5 benefits of exercise

Soaring through the air for a slam dunk has got to be a great feeling. The good news is it’s not imperative to enjoy the health benefits of exercise.
Benefits include mitogenesis, BDNF, NO, VEGF, and GLUT-4 upregulation, which you don’t need to understand. Fortunately, your body does and appreciates and utilizes these beneficial physiological occurrences when you exercise.
Mitogenesis or, more accurately, mitochondrial biogenesis: do you want power plants working suboptimally, at worst, leaking nuclear waste? No! You would also not want this for our energy producers – the mitochondria. Studies demonstrate that dysfunctional mitochondria – ones that leak electrons are a primary source for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, or even cancer. (1) But not to worry, exercise can rescue your mitochondria from disuse and decay by restoring them to healthy functioning.
BDNF: Brain-Derived Neurotrophic factor is upregulated by exercise; this brain protein helps with the process of learning and memory, as well as improved mood, which helps explain why exercise is beneficial for neurodegenerative and psychiatric illnesses. (2)
NO: Nitric oxide, which supports endothelial health (the cells that line the blood vessels) and improves blood pressure, is induced by exercise (3). NO also has anti-oxidant capacity, another way exercise helps to fight disease
VEGF: this is another reason to exercise but a reason to start slowly. This unique factor will help cannulize (open up) blocked blood vessels or create new vessel pathways around blockages (4). This process takes time, so when starting an exercise program, slowly build time and frequency before taking on exertion. Keep your heart rate to approximately 75-80% of the maximum. Once you have established an exercise regime, start building exertion; this should be done over weeks, possibly months, not days.
GLUT-4 upregulation: glucose must get into the cell for energy and glycogen storage; glut-4 is the cellular protein that gets it done. Insulin resistance is arguably a major, if not the major, contributor to aging, and this exercise-generated Glut-4 mechanism is a great way to limit this process. (5)

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