Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fountain of Youth

For many, many centuries there have been people looking for the fountain of youth. Looking for a mythical Spring that allowed you to stay young forever once you bathed in it. Specific tales of the search for the fountain of youth have been found in Herodotus, Alexander Romance and the stories of Prester John. And then of course in the 16th century Ponce De Leon became well known for his search for the fountain of youth. What is interesting is that the pursuit of staying young continues on even in our current society. And in many cases you can make an argument that we are more obsessed than ever with staying young as long as possible. Plastic surgery, pills, restrictive diets and more are dominating the landscape of health and wellness these days all in the name of being youthful forever.

However, there is one thing that has been around for thousands of years that we know is the closest thing to the fountain of youth. It has become popularized these days, but still so many people have a hard time accepting that this thing is the key to not only a more youthful look, but also youthful internal functions and peace of mind. What is it? EXERCISE.

That's right. Exercise is truly the fountain of youth. Will exercise help you live forever? Of course not. No one lives forever and you know what? That's ok because it is not about living forever, it is about living well during the time you have. Exercise is a huge component towards that. Current research continues to aim arrows towards the overriding face that exercise is medicine and that the appropriate amounts of exercise will keep you younger in many ways. Exercise is truly a miracle worker or a panacea if you will. Did you know you would have to take almost 200 specific pills to mimic the effects of exercise? It is truly amazing how exercise affects your mood, and well being. And then there's the very concrete positive effects on stroke volume, cardiac output, capillary density, lymph movement, resting heart rate, VO2 max, and so on and so on. Exercise is definitely king when it comes to a youthful feeling both physically and mentally.

So, the question is...why is something that we know is so good for you so very hard for so many people to regularly participate in? Every January people all across the world commit to changing their exercise habits, but we know via research that the drop out rate is at least 50% after three months. One of the easiest explanations for the lack of steadiness with exercise is that this "fountain of youth" is not about bathing in a Spring and relaxing. This fountain of youth requires a steady commitment of very hard work and effort. That's a large part of it. Is time the issue? Not really, there are 168 hours in the week so there is time to make exercise an important part of your life.

The time is now to capture that fountain of youth. It is available to you everyday. You don't have to circumnavigate a continent or cross an ocean to find something that will give you youthfulness and vitality. Nope, all you have to do is move your body and become more knowledgeable about how your body responds to exercise. Exercise...magnificent, amazing, rewarding and life giving in so many ways...exercise...the true fountain of youth.

Until next time...

Dr. D
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