Other than looking a little more youthful or sporty in your Facebook or Instagram profile picture, why else ought we get a little fitter? There are many reasons to get fit, live fit and stay fit. We wanted to focus on why versus how. You see most of us do hours of online reading and researching the cursed hows. There are hundreds of ways to boost aerobic fitness, increase muscular strength and improve flexibility. Why do so few enjoy physical active lives?
The problem is not a lack of information. The Internet, bookstores and well-meaning friends are overflowing with exercise and nutrition advice. It can be overwhelming for the average dental professional when they Google “nutrition” or “fitness” and come up with millions and millions of results. Combine the avalanche of information with a lack of energy and time, and you can guess the outcome. Here are six powerful “whys” or reasons to move toward a more active lifestyle.
More functioning mitochondria: These energy organelles are the reason you are able to blink, move, breathe, manage your office, scale teeth or prep a crown. Your very livelihood relies on these energy spewing ATP pumping factories. Did you know that after age 40 they are less able to be repaired and regenerated? One of the reasons we slow down with age is the “gassing out” of the 10 billion mitochondria in the human body. Active living is one of the best ways to keep your mitochondria in shape.1
Brian function: John Ratey MD in his New York Times best seller Spark shared his decades of research into exercise and the brain.2 He showed that people who are physically active have more of the neurotransmitter BDNF circulating in their brain than sedentary people. BNDF facilitates communication between your billions of neurons and helps with neuroplasticity or new learning – something to counterpunch brain fog when faced with mastering new dental software!
Stronger immune system: People who ran around for as little as 30 minutes in one British Journal of Sports Medicine study increased circulating immune cells by 50 percent.3 Being physically active is an important habit to develop in these challenging times to stack the deck in your favour to stay vibrant, healthy and alive.
Perfect posture: People make an assessment of who we are and how capable we are within 30 seconds of saying hello. Poor posture, tired shoulders or sunken chest aren’t anyone’s ideal power positions. A consistent exercise habit supports toned muscles, stabilizes your spine to maintain a neutral ergonomic posture and broadcasts confidence to the world.
Sleep quality: Sleep scientists have shown that the effect of exercise on sleep isn’t direct. It is indirect in that toned muscles have decreased muscular tension at night facilitating faster sleep onset and deeper sleep. Getting better quality and quantity of sleep also leaves you better rested and able to keep your resolve to exercise the next day.
Emergency preparedness: In the first study of its kind in with first responders it was shown that the more fit a person was the better they handled emergency situations,4 and the better able they were to process the psychosocial disturbances fallout from these situations. The summary statement was that fit people have less of a knee jerk reaction to crisis.
There you have it. Six powerful whys to ignite a fire under your desire to fall into fitness. Time to get moving!
- Colgan M. Saving Your Brain. 2007
- Ratey, John. Spark. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2008.
- Schwindt CD et al. British Journal Sports Med 2007; 41(1): 34-40
- “Aerobic Fitness Affects Cortisol” Med & Sci in Sport & Exer 2012
About the Authors
Uche Odiatu, DMD is a practicing dentist, NSCA certified trainer and professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Mahsa Bakhshandeh RDH is a 10-year veteran registered dental hygienist, licenced Zumba instructor, meditation practitioner and has a passion for travel and enjoying their healthy local cuisine.