Allison Perry

By

College: Medicine

With Exercise, We're Healthier Longer

Published: Aug 15, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2012) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, Aug. 12.

 

With Exercise, We're Healthier Longer

By Karyn Esser

 

“Faster, higher, stronger” is the Olympics motto, and elite athletes train their entire lives for a shot at a medal.

 

However, exercise training is important even for non-athletes because the ability to generate strength and power is essential for good quality of life.

 

I define exercise as an increase in physical activity or work significantly above rest.

 

When you exercise, a few important body changes occur:

 

Heart rate and blood flow increase.

 

Active muscles use stored sugar and fuels mobilized from fat and liver. <?xml:namespace prefix = owc />

 

Activation of muscles produces heat, so core temperature increases.

 

Exercise comes in many forms, and each provides unique benefits to the body.

 

Cardio is exercise maintained over a period of time — activities like running, swimming, dancing. Cardio works larger groups of muscles at the same time compared to weight training, but the muscles work at a lower intensity.

 

Doing cardio at least 30 minutes a day three times a week can improve heart function, increase capillary supply to muscles, and improve sugar and fat burning in muscles. Newer studies are showing that cardio can increase brain cell activity with benefits in learning and mental health.

 

Weight training focuses on increasing strength and size of targeted muscles. It is higher-intensity exercise performed over a short time, putting a load on a muscle group to challenge those muscles to get stronger.

 

Balancing strength around a particular joint is important for preventing injuries. For example, if you strengthen the knee extensor muscles (quads), you also should strengthen the knee flexor muscles (hamstrings) to maintain a strength balance across the knee joint.

 

Loss of strength is a major concern for the aging population. Thus, we recommend some forms of strength training in daily life for everyone regardless of age.

 

Stretching and flexibility training is complementary to cardio and weight training. Improved flexibility can decrease risk of injury. Stretching is a passive movement — skeletal muscles are not activated. Stretching can increase range of motion around a specific joint.

 

By maintaining muscle function and strength, we are going to be healthier, but we don’t know the specific reasons why. Skeletal muscle health affects our mobility but is also important for metabolic health. Skeletal muscle stores up to 90 percent of all sugar in our bodies, so it is the major site insulin targets after a meal. Recently, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who lifted weights at least 2½ hours a week decreased their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by a third.

 

A sedentary lifestyle has profound negative health consequences besides obesity and heart problems. New research links loss of muscle strength to declines in clinical outcomes — as our muscles weaken, we are more likely to get sick and die. Conversely, newer provocative research in animals has also shown that if muscles are kept healthy, this leads to longer lifespan.

 

Karyn Esser is the director of the UK Center for Muscle Biology.

esser_karyn_072010.jpg
December
 
1
Resumes and Cover Letters
Circle of Love Gift Return
Mon
2
UK Guitar Studio
Circle of Love Gift Return
Tue
3
Networking and Job Search
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Wayne's World
Study Sounds: Classical Concert
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Frozen
Ballet Music of Tchaikovsky
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Live Screening of Orion Spacecraft Re-entry
Massage on the Go
Thu
5
LNFS Presents: Winter's Bone
LNFS Presents: Gremlins
Open Studio
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Fri
6
Snow Skiing @ Perfect North Slopes
Sat
7
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Sun
8
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find a Faculty Mentor"
Mon
9
Job Club - Identifying Your Skills
Paws for Stress Relief
Tue
10
 
Wed
11
 
Thu
12
Last Day of Classes
Fri
13
 
Sat
14
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Finals Treats
Sun
15
Final Exams
Crunch Brunch
Mon
16
Final Exams
Jazzy Holiday Concert
Tue
17
Final Exams
Caregiver Support Group
Wed
18
Final Exams
Thu
19
Final Exams
End of 2014 Fall Semester
Fri
20
 
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
 
Mon
23
 
Tue
24
 
Wed
25
 
Thu
26
 
Fri
27
 
Sat
28
 
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
31
 
Wed
 
 
 
Jan 14
Bicycle Trivia 01/14/2015

Wed, 01/14/2015

Fri, 01/16/2015

Wed, 01/21/2015

Reset Page