Principles Behind Great Health #5 - Exercise Regularly

"I don't have enough time," is the most common reason for sales people not exercising. This is not surprising given the nature of the work: long hours, travel, hotel stays, pressure from targets, social engagements etc. Other reasons of course can include: family commitments, a late finish, a sunny evening, a few beers after work or simply something good on television.

It's well known we should exercise or play some form of sport to get fit. However, there is a big difference between fitness and health; fitness is the ability to do certain types of exercise or activity and improve on performance each time; health is when all parts of the body are working optimally and in sync: nervous, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, hormonal etc. There is also a big difference between different types of exercise, some are anaerobic i.e. 'without oxygen,' where the body burns glycogen (sugar) as its primary fuel and builds muscle mass, others are aerobic i.e. 'with oxygen,' where the body builds endurance.

The problem with not doing any exercise (or activity) at all, is that much like a car or computer sat around for a long time without maintenance or updates, things just start to go wrong. Our heart needs charging to stay strong and distribute blood and nutrients effectively around the body for the regeneration and repair of cells, our lungs need challenging to draw in lots of oxygen for regeneration and repair of cells, and our metabolism needs building so it can keep our digestive and elimination processes running smoothly to prevent the build up of toxins (which can ultimately lead to cells becoming cancerous). At the other extreme, excessive exercise, carried-out incorrectly, can cause a tremendous amount of stress on joints and ligaments and puts us at risk from injury.

Fortunately, our bodies are incredibly good at maintaining themselves so it doesn't require hours and hours of activity at the gym. By exercising aerobically or doing activities that get us slightly sweaty for at least 30 minutes continuously per day (running, cycling, swimming, mountaineering, tennis, rowing, roller-blading, ice skating, shadow boxing, skipping, dancing, sex - the list goes on and on), we can achieve a great level of health. Other benefits from exercising regularly include: strengthening of the heart, increased metabolism (and ability to burn fat), improved digestion / transit time, increased lung capacity, increased energy and alertness, improved mental faculties, and improved sleep. On top of all this, exercise produces a natural high (which is completely legal) by releasing endorphins that make us feel great!