“In all labour there is profit” Proverbs 14:23
Do you remember learning in school about the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy? Basically, entropy is the physical world’s way of always moving toward states of greater disorder. Natural systems tend to move to the lowest energy state possible. Does that sound like you? Shoelaces untie, ice cream melts, and people end up on the couch.
Up to half of all American adults are sedentary.1 Other countries’ statistics may vary, but Americans surely cannot be proud of their behavior! Life provides many distractions and excuses not to exercise. Just the normal routines of daily life make little time to fit in exercise.
“Whatever their business and inclinations, they should make up their minds to exercise in the open air as much as they can. They should feel it a religious duty to overcome the conditions of health which have kept them confined indoors, deprived of exercise in the open air. Some invalids become willful in the matter and refuse to be convinced of the great importance of daily outdoor exercise. . . they persist, from year to year, in having their own way and living in an atmosphere almost destitute of vitality. It is impossible for this class to have a healthy circulation.” Counsels on Health, 173
If Ellen White were able to observe modern life she may indeed classify the lot of us as invalids!
Why should I exercise? Think flabby muscles and failing organs. Regular exercise keeps the blood flowing. Blood is the transportation system for all the nutrients, oxygen, and water our cells need, from our brains to our toenails. Lack of exercise weakens the circulatory system causing blood to pool, thus oxygen and nutrients cannot get to their destinations. Organs are not getting the fuel they need for proper functioning. No wonder lack of exercise contributes to heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity, to name but a few.2
Exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis. The bones and joints require weight-bearing exercise to stimulate the body to make more osteocytes—bone cells. Sedentary lifestyles lead to porous, brittle bones.3
“The chief if not the only reason why many become invalids is that the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid, which are necessary to life and health, do not take place. They have not given their bodies exercise nor their lungs food, which is pure, fresh air; therefore it is impossible for the blood to be vitalized, and it pursues its course sluggishly through the system. The more we exercise, the better will be the circulation of the blood. More people die for want of exercise than through overfatigue; very many more rust out than wear out.” Counsels on Health, 173
With depression and anxiety major health concerns today, it is no wonder that a link between emotional well being and exercise has been found. You may have heard about endorphins, which is a substance naturally produced by the body that is hundreds of times more potent than morphine.4 Exercise causes your body to release endorphins and perhaps serotonin which causes an individual to feel a sense of well-being. Not to mention that having a more fit body can make anyone feel better about themselves.
Exercise not only strengthens your cardiovascular system; it reduces the amount of harmful cholesterol (LDL) in your blood and actually can help reverse atherosclerosis– hardening of the arteries. Insufficient physical activity is a known risk factor leading to ischemic heart disease and stroke, that together account for more than 40% of deaths in the United States.5
What is considered exercise? It is recommended that one get at least 30 minutes of accumulated exercise on most or all days of the week. This includes many activities of daily living such as doing the laundry, walking the dog, and gardening. But for optimal health, aerobic exercise must become part of your exercise regime. Aerobic—or oxygen providing—exercise is considered any exercise that raises the heart rate, and keeps it up, for a minimum of 20–30 minutes. This can include, but is not limited to, brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, and rowing. How can you determine whether or not your exercise is intense enough to transport oxygen to all of your body systems? Calculate your target heart rate with the formula provided (your heart rate during exercise should fall between the minimum and maximum rates). Another more general guideline is that it should be possible for you to speak a few words during exercise but the activity should be intense enough that you are unable to carry on a conversation. Aerobic exercise is recommended three to five times a week.
Today, obesity is not only a problem in adults for even childhood obesity is on the rise. Exercise burns off calories and when we burn more calories than we eat, we lose weight. Also, after exercising, your metabolism speeds up, making you feel more energetic and burns calories faster for the remainder of the day. Being at an ideal weight reduces the likelihood that you will have heart disease and is very beneficial in preventing and treating diabetes.
You now know that exercise leads to greater health and prevents disease. Exercise is your weapon for combating the law of entropy and moving toward greater states of health instead of disease and disorder. You know who you are, get off the couch!
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Psalm 23:4
Target Heart Rate Formula
To calculate your Target Heart Rate, first find your pulse or your resting heart rate (best when taken just as you get out of bed in the morning) and count the beats for one entire minute. Use this number in the following formula.
Minimum Exercise Heart Rate:
220 – age______ = ______ – resting heart rate______ = ______ x .5 + resting heart rate______ = _______
Maximum Exercise Heart Rate:
220 – age______ = ______ – resting heart rate ______ =______ x .85 + resting heart rate______ = ________
Example: (age = 20, resting heart rate = 70)
220 – 20 = 200 – 70 = 130 x .5 + 70 = 135
220 – 20 = 200 – 70 = 130 x .85 + 70 = 180