Exercise is often promoted as a cure-all answer for many problems.  The following section takes a hard look at some of the myths about exercise, and presents the views of physicians who have watched the body chemistry of thousands of individuals for years.

 MYTH #1.  Strong muscles and a beautiful body indicate you are in good health.

These may make you feel like you have health, and everyone may tell you how wonderful you look.  However, I work with people who look great, but have cancer or some other disease.  It is certainly wise to care for your body, but health goes far beyond muscles and body shape.

Judging yourself or another based upon how much or how many exercises one does is insane.  Human beings need to have the strength to achieve a healthful lifestyle and that is about all.  Physical strength is only one parameter of health and not an important one.

MYTH #2.  A healthy heart and healthy arteries indicate you are healthy.

This is a recent fetish.  Experience with many people shows that if your body chemistry is truly in balance, your arteries and heart will be excellent.  This is not to say that exercise is not needed.  Some gentle walking is excellent for circulation and the cardiovascular system.  However, it is easy to overdo in trying to tone up your muscles and one system that can be negatively affected is the cardiovascular system.

Gentle exercise is beneficial for everyone, but a narrow-minded focus on cardiovascular fitness is insane.  Recently a 25-year old woman consulted me complaining of fatigue and depression.  She was doing aerobic exercise 3-5 evenings a week.  Her heart and arteries were probably fine, but her glandular system was so exhausted she could hardly get out of bed in the morning.  Her hair analysis indicated a depleted, exhausted body.  Exercise was just aggravating the problem.  This case is typical of the ‘exhausted exerciser’.

MYTH #3.  Exercise rebuilds your body.

Exercise assists circulation of the blood and oxygenation of tissues, and can help rebuilding in this sense.  Mild exercise is excellent for these purposes.  Excessive exercise, however, stresses the heart, arteries, joints, and glands.  They are forced to respond to stress, and to use up energy in that response.  Muscles enlarge as a response or accommodation to stress.  Large muscles are not a sign of health in themselves.

Healing and rebuilding is largely a biochemical phenomenon, requiring proper nutrients, and requiring plenty of rest so that energy can be directed to the area in need of healing.

To exercise a little when you feel well is great.  To exercise “in order to feel well” is skating on thin ice.  Today, most people are subtly malnourished due to consumption of food that is low in trace elements, and for other reasons.  No amount of exercise will make up for these deficiencies.  It is a mistake to think you can compensate for a biochemical problem by exercising.

The result may be that you will feel well for a while.  Later, you will find yourself addicted to exercise.  If you skip it for two days, you will feel depressed, constipated, irritable or exhausted.  This occurs because exercise stimulates the adrenal glands and can keep exhausted glands functioning – like whipping a tired horse.  If you stop whipping, naturally the horse will not feel like getting up or performing well.

MYTH #4.  Exercise cannot be harmful.

Most marathon runners are good for several years.  Then some of them must retire because they are ‘burned out’.  Many professional athletes die young.  Indeed, they have one of the shortest life spans of any group of adults.

Here is something interesting.  The slow heartbeat of professional runners is due in part to their healthy heart, but also due to a mechanism to slow their metabolism, because they put such strain on their heart.  Cysteine is released from muscle tissue and slows the thyroid.  The idea that since a little is good, more must be better, can be lethal when applied to exercise.

Here are some guidelines for exercise:

1. Don’t use your pulse as your only guide.  Many people are not that healthy, in spite of a normal pulse rate.

2. Follow common sense.  Don’t push past exhaustion.  Listen to yourself before you listen to any coaches, experts or friends.  Go at your own pace.  Do as much exercise as you need to keep yourself fit for your lifestyle and that is all.  Opt for less exercise of a vigorous nature if in doubt.

3. Don’t use exercise as a crutch or drug.  If you are running to get away from your problems, you are misusing exercise.  If you are addicted to exercise, work toward getting unhooked, as you would with any other addiction.  Addiction is not health, even if it makes you look and feel fantastic while you do it.

4. If you skip exercise for a few days, you should still feel very well.  If you skip your exercise and begin to feel depressed, exhausted, constipated or irritable you are probably using exercise as a whip.  Cut down slowly and look into other reasons why you are feeling this way.

5. A tissue mineral analysis performed by a lab that does not wash the hair, and interpreted by someone who understands it well, can often tell you if you are overdoing exercise.

The properly performed and interpreted hair mineral test will often indicate adrenal exhaustion.  Only very gentle exercise is acceptable and helpful for these people.  Vigorous exercise of any kind in this condition only slows regeneration and is quite dangerous for your health and healing.

6. Involve your whole body.  Exercise outside in the fresh air whenever possible.  Flexibility is as important as strength and endurance.  Stretching and deep breathing are vital for health.

Walking, swimming, bicycling and gardening are excellent.  Long-lived people in the world often work outside, but usually not strenuously.  Meditative exercises such as yoga or tai chi are also okay but be careful because many are injured in these classes.  The teacher must walk around the entire class at all times to make sure the students are doing the poses correctly at all times.  This is very important to avoid injuries.  This is why walking is often better, as it is safer.

by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

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