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Who Knew This One Simple Choice Could Have So Many Health Benefits?

July 30, 2009 | 41,918 views

Dr. James Chestnut, who was honored in 2007 as “Chiropractic Educator of the Year” by the International Chiropractors Association, explains why you should regard exercise as a necessity rather than an optional choice.

Dr. Chestnut has a Bachelor of Physical Education degree, a Master of Science in exercise physiology with a specialization in neurological adaptation, and is a Doctor of Chiropractic with a post-graduate certification in Wellness.

Dr. Chestnut’s approach is a novel one in that it combines genetics, nutrition and exercise with the science of personal change and empowerment.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

As you may already know, I believe exercise is one of the most important, and profound, actions you can take to improve or maintain your health. You simply are not likely to achieve high-level wellness without it.

And in my Inner Circle expert interview with Dr. James Chestnut, he expands on a vital, yet very underappreciated, concept: Exercise is a necessary nutrient for genetic expression of health and homeostasis.

That is, your exercise need is very much like your need for vitamins and other nutrients. As Dr. Chestnut says:

“Exercise is as important as vitamin C or breathing or love or anything else. Exercise must be seen as a nutrient, a required nutrient, and an essential nutrient.”

Yet, upon hearing this some of you may still find it difficult to find the time or motivation to make physical activity a regular part of your life. You know it’s good for you, but you have a hard time choosing to do it. If you fall into this large group (more than half of U.S. adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, and one out of four don’t exercise at all), it’s time to start changing the way you think about exercise.

Getting Into the Exercise Mindset

If your internal dialogue about exercise is negative -- for instance you focus on how much time it takes or how hard it is -- you may lose the motivation before you even get started. The key is to view exercise in a positive light and focus on the benefits, including how great you’ll feel afterward.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go from being a non-exerciser to working out 1-2 hours a day overnight. You can take baby steps and little by little your mind will begin to accept, and maybe even desire, this newfound part of your life.

Personally, I go into a fairly severe withdrawal if I fail to exercise for more than a few days. I know and understand the physiology and I easily visualize my body rapidly deteriorating as a result of inactivity. 

Dr. Chestnut has another view and explains:

“I always start gradually. I say, “Would you be willing to buy some exercise gear, some clothes, some proper shoes, and would you be willing to go outside in the morning and deep breathe, say something positive about yourself and perhaps go for a walk for three minutes?

But if you don’t want to walk, you don’t have to. You can just go outside and deep breathe, say something positive to yourself. If people are morbidly obese, that’s where we start.

If people aren’t that way, then I can say, “Okay, what are you willing to do? Are you wiling to go for a walk?” And I’ve got everything from starting to do some pushups to just standing knee bends -- it’s all in a progression.”

You can help yourself get into a more positive frame of mind by giving the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) a try. It can help you remove the negative emotional blocks that are preventing you from successfully implementing your program.

Further, you can print out this Daily Exercise Table to pin down exactly which exercise benefits you’re after and help schedule and keep track of your program.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Exercise

Your body is an efficient machine, and if you do the same type of exercise day after day, you’ll become quite good at it. However, when exercise becomes easy to complete, it’s a sign you need to work a little harder and give your body a new challenge.

So when you’re planning your exercise routine, it’s important to include a variety of activities. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that many people tend to place an unbalanced emphasis on cardio. And while aerobic activity is important, it is only one piece of the bigger picture.

As Dr. Chestnut says:

“The reality is that we’re not marathon runners, number one. We’re great walkers and great hikers. At some point [cardio] starts to become a detriment, and the other thing is our ancestors were … decathletes. They were good at all kinds of things.

If we go back to exercise being a required nutrient, we need that incredible sense of power. We need that strength. We need it for our bone density. We need it for our insulin sensitivity issues. We need it for our hormonal balance.

And so, you are not healthy if all you’re doing is aerobic work.”

I certainly can attest to this. I have been running for over 40 years but recently stopped, as I just didn't like it anymore. I find hiking far more enjoyable. In July I had an opportunity to spend ten days in Aspen, Colorado which is at 8,500 feet and absolutely delighted in hiking the many marvelous trails through the mountains up there.

Many of the trails had over 3,000 foot in elevation and with the altitude, it makes an incredible workout completely enhanced with the mountains, streams, aspen forests and all the negative ions that they generate.

I also enjoy tossing the Frisbee, which at 10,000 feet is a completely different experience.  I also enjoy tennis, strength training and stretching.

So, in order to reap all of the benefits that exercise has to offer, it’s important to include the following types of exercise, which I explain in detail in my Primary Principles of Exercise video:

  1. Aerobic
  2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training
  3. Strength Training
  4. Core Exercises
  5. Active Stretching

My team and I are actively engaged in the process of offering you exercise videos. If you go to my YouTube channel you will see me working out in the new gym at our Chicago office with our new exercise coach, Darrin Steen.

These are just the rough videos as we plan on offering a very comprehensive course for you with complete and comprehensive programs and instructions. If all goes well we hope to launch it before year end.

Also I haven’t talked much about stretching but I am absolutely convinced that this is part of a comprehensive exercise strategy. Unfortunately, nearly everything you know about stretching is wrong. I have met a truly world class expert in this area and will be sharing his material soon. In the meantime, for most people yoga is an absolutely phenomenal way to improve your flexibility.

So although I highly recommend finding a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals, if you cannot afford it or live in an area without access to one, you can still reap the benefits of exercise if you focus on varying your routine … and just get out there and get moving!


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