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When most folks think of exercise they think of ‘muscle exercise’, that is, moving the body in a way to build or stretch muscle or increase their heart (muscle) rate to some ‘target range’ for a certain period of time.
First, if you have musculoskeletal problems (muscle/joint pain or stiffness), do NOT do this kind of exercise for at least two reasons. It generates more acids in the tissue which cannot easily escape as evidenced by already chronic sore/stiff muscles and joints, duh. AND pain is a sign you have already worn down a joint faster than it has been able to repair. So just stop it. Rather consider the lymphatic exercises to first move stored acids without generating more. Some with these conditions will say they feel better with exercise but often that is simply the result of improved circulation – but it comes at too high a price, namely the generation of more acids. There are other ways to improve circulation (see lymphatic exercise).
Second, if a person has any chronic illness with FATIGUE, (and certainly any that involve the muscles or joints), I strongly discourage muscle exercise, because of the other problem that muscular exercise creates – an energy drain. Your body has an energy budget. The income to the energy budget is based on (1) good digestion and (2) proper regulation of its fuel. This fuel is needed to heal tissue or perhaps fund your immune system, rather than wasting it on lots of unproductive limb movement (aka muscle exercise). If you have energy to spare then fine, run, bike, etc. But if you are chronically fatigued, don’t waste your precious fuel. Your fatigue is telling you that you cannot afford it right now. Choose energy increasing routines, not energy draining routines.
If your muscles are weak due to extended illness OR you just want more muscle mass then slow resistance exercises are best for the muscles. Slow burn exercises are only done once a week and they won’t break your energy budget. These are the types described by Fredrick Hahn in his books. Basically you take any exercise and instead of repeating it many times (reps) you take 30 seconds to 1 minute to slowly complete one rep. This slow motion exercise is done until you cannot do another slow-mo rep, and then you are done that exercise for the week. You will build more muscle mass and strength with minimum energy expenditure.
If a muscle is not used it is wise to maintain its contracting and relaxing ability by some muscle exercise. HOWEVER the heart, which is a muscle, never stops beating and in such a capacity does not need all the attention that is focused on it (i.e. cardio vascular exercise). In fact, in most people with high blood pressure, the heart is already engaged in resistance exercise, and then you are going to do what? Push it even more? If the doc says, “Your heart muscle is thicker than normal, etc.” Well duh, that is what resistance training does – increases muscle mass. That is why blood pressure is increased – the heart met resistance and increased pressure to overcome it for some good reason. Of course the heart muscle will be thicker than normal. Address the resistance and the blood pressure will decrease.
“But the doc said to exercise to get my blood sugar down.” There is a good reason blood sugar is elevated – check the dysglycemia document. Figure out what your intelligent design body is trying to do! Then consider the slow resistance exercises and make some of these part of your routine. And try to make sense of why so many who do cardio workouts have heart attacks.
Finally, when you abound in energy, do something to show for it that will make you feel good, aka useful exercise: vacuum the house, trim the bushes, weed the garden, clean up the yard, – or the widow’s yard. Make your energy count for something.
©Pat Block ND 2007
Consider this…..I have learned more from very sick people than I have from double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over studies. My sick clients taught me how to get them well - things that even my teachers didn't know. I have such smart clients.
** Important Warning **Nothing on this site is FDA approved. Nothing I write here is intended to be medical advice. Follow my recommendations at your own risk. Results may vary, and blah, blah, blah. So if the required warnings have not scared you away, then you have a chance. I'm reporting here what kinds of approaches actually helped very sick people get well, AND the kinds of things that actually made them sick (and it usually isn't lack of exercise, weight, menopause or smoking - it is the underlying cause of all those things.)
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