June 17, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

More Reasons to Enjoy Creation Outdoors

Evidence keeps mounting that exercise is good for almost every body.  It can prevent and alleviate many ailments.  But isn’t that only natural?

  • Low back pain:  Laziness increases the risk of back pain, reported EurekAlert on work from Australia.  Staying in bed shrinks muscles needed to support the back.  So does prolonged inactivity at a desk job.  Conclusion?  “If you sit around too much long-term, such as a desk job with no sport in your spare time, the muscles can slowly change in a bad way, giving you a bigger risk of hurting your back.”  Sporting suggestion: go take a hike.
  • Diabetes:  Exercise does twice as much good as diet and medicine for diabetics, says a report from U of Missouri-Columbia.  A change of lifestyle to include exercise brings strong benefits: “In studies that focused on exercise only, blood glucose improved twice as much as in studies that focused on exercise, diet and medication adherence.”  See also Science Daily.
  • High blood pressure:  “Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inactivity: they’re not just your father’s problems any more,” said a press release from University of new Hampshire.  College students had their diets and lifestyle habits measured and found that they were worse off than they thought.  Many admitted they get less than 30 minutes of activity a day.  Some students were shocked to find out how unfit they were, while researchers warned that “if they continue on this trajectory, are going to be much more of a health burden at age 50 than their parents are.”
  • Thirst and Water Intoxication:  Now that you have decided to exercise more, you need to hydrate the body properly.  Remember when they told us to drink more water?  Too much can be as bad as too little.  Instead, advises Georgetown Medical Center, let thirst be your guide.
  • Better Little than None:  Now, some good news.  Science Daily reported dramatic health benefits after just one exercise session, even for diabetics and the obese.  Doctors at University of Michigan found that the improved metabolism from exercise can forestall a primary symptom of type 2 diabetes.

The hazards of inactivity are worrisome, and the benefits of exercise are manifold.  Exercise improves the organs, the mind, the attitude, the longevity, and even social and spiritual health.  The body was made for activity.  As much as you can, give it what it needs.  Benefits will begin almost immediately no matter how out of shape you have become.  Schedule time for it, and start today.

The epidemic of obesity these days is a crying shame.  A walk around any shopping mall or public place reveals a high percentage of people who are overweight – some morbidly so.  These people (except for the very few who cannot help it), should realize that they are advertising their irresponsibility, like someone walking around with a sandwich board reading, “I lack self control.”  (This is NOT to say that skinniness is a virtue – it can often be just as unhealthy and dangerous.)  We all have a normal weight for our body type that we should strive to maintain.
    If you find yourself weighing more than you should (let’s face it, that’s a lot of us), don’t beat yourself up and get depressed about it, and don’t spend money on fad diets, books and programs.  Just make some adjustments to your lifestyle habits little by little.  Remember two things: (1) you need to pour fewer calories down the gullet, and (2) you need to burn more calories through exercise.  Build these simple reminders into your daily routine as a way of life, and give it time to work.

Calories and diet: You can still eat things you enjoy, but try these tips.  Eat smaller portions.  Eat slower; savor each bite.  Mom, bless her heart, was wrong: you don’t have to finish your plate.  Eat what you need of the burger or fries and throw the rest out.  Don’t do what the fast-food joints tempt, either: don’t supersize; downsize.  Get the double whopper instead of the Texas triple, or the whopper junior instead of the regular.  Put less salt and sauce on the meat.  Put less butter on the potato, less salad dressing on the salad.  Never gorge yourself at a meal.  Balance out the things you enjoy with healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  In time, you will learn to like the healthy stuff, and the rich food will begin to seem unnatural.  Gradual lifestyle changes will be more likely to stick.  A registered dietician should be consulted for hard cases.

Exercise is the more effective of the two factors, because it not only burns the calories, it helps your body handle the energy budget more efficiently, and is self-reinforcing: the more you exercise, the better you feel, and the more you want to exercise.  Throughout history some very strong and fit individuals have gotten by with a far less optimum diet than we have available today, because they lived active, vigorous lives; think of soldiers from ancient times who performed mighty feats of strength and endurance.  A good diet, therefore, is not enough alone, and exercise can compensate for some dietary deficiencies.
    Like a savings account, the accrued interest of a regular exercise program will grow.  Think of it as an investment.  We all have plenty of excuses – too busy, too tired, too overcommitted – but exercise will give you more strength and joy for all your other work, and will allow you to get more done in less time – and a longer life to achieve more.  In other words, you can’t afford not to exercise.
    Even the infirm or disabled can often do something.  Under a doctor’s supervision, squeeze a ball, bend your forearms with small weights, do deep breathing and abdominal isostatic exercises, bicycle your legs in bed, but try to take your body to a higher level than it is right now.  Think you have problems?  Look at Nick Vujicic, born without arms and legs, who swims and dresses himself and operates his own business, typing with his one working toe (watch the amazing video clip on the site).  Look what Bob Wieland did after losing his legs in Vietnam.  Take whatever faculties you have left and maximize them.  If your body isn’t working, use your mind.  (Actually, as long as you are alive, there are far more body parts that are working just fine than are disabled – like trillions of cells.)
    The able-bodied commuter with a desk job has many options.  Park and walk farther.  Take stairs instead of the elevator.  Stretch at the desk.  Take breaks to walk around.  Get out of the cubicle and go outside once in awhile.  “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eye to see the sun,” said an otherwise-cynical elderly king (Ecclesiastes 11:7).  If you still think you don’t have time, try multitasking.  Listen to sermons, books on tape or training programs in your MP3 player while you walk.
    For those in the southern California area, a new book by Steve Sears can motivate you to get the exercise you need without the boredom of treadmills and gyms.  God, Growth and Great Adventure tells you where to go, what to take, how to prepare, and what to see on dozens of great hikes in the mountains and deserts of California.  With this book (or one like it for your locale) and a Bible in hand, get out and enjoy the world God made – it will do your heart, soul and spirit a world of good.  Check our photo gallery for more inspiration.
    What does all this have to do with creation and evolution?  Read this, point 1, and also this.

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Categories: Health, Human Body

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