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The Benefits of Diet and Exercise

by Nellie Shani  
4/07/2010 / Health

The benefits of diet and exercise could never be over-emphasized. The overall goal should be good health. While cats have "nine lives", human beings only have one life. Whether we live a life where we are constantly sick and tired, or live a life of robust health and strength is a choice that each one of us has the luxury of making. I am not talking here of weight loss. I have met some pretty skinny and unhealthy people while some much bigger people enjoy constant good health.

May I humbly suggest that it all begins with understanding the human body. The human body, we are told, is just a collection of cells. Doctors tell us that one can keep a cell alive forever, if it has enough oxygen, and if it can expel wastes and toxins. If we apply this principle to the human body, then we can safely assume that for our bodies to function at optimal levels, then we of necessity need maximum oxygen delivery to our bodies. When oxygen is optimized, energy is also optimized. It naturally follows then, that for us to go through a normal day with high energy levels, we need to have enough oxygen. To absorb the most oxygen into our bodies, we must breathe deeply. The lowest part of our lungs, are designed to absorb the most oxygen.

When we do aerobic exercise, we usually breathe deeply. These exercises include running, cycling, stepping and the like. They are called aerobic, because they cause air (aero) to be pushed to the lowest part of our lungs where it is quickly absorbed into our blood stream. Our cells are energized, rejuvenated and live longer, the more oxygen we give them. Brisk walking is considered a very good exercise as it causes us to breathe deeply. As oxygenated blood is pumped into the various organs of our bodies, the cells in these organs are revived and kept alive. Many of us breathe just to survive, taking in just enough oxygen to be kept alive through our shallow breathing. We should not only breathe to survive, but breathe to thrive! That is the deep breathing that takes much needed oxygen to the lowest part of our lungs as we exercise.

The second principle is that apart from oxygen, cells also need to get rid of toxins. Toxins are generally introduced into our bodies through the food that we eat and the air that we breathe. Processed foods are our fiercest enemy. Our bodies were never made to handle or eliminate toxins naturally. Whatever we take into our bodies need to be assimilated or eliminated. Because our bodies cannot assimilate toxins, they have to be eliminated.

The lymphatic system was created to eliminate toxins from our bodies. The lymphatic system is stimulated through movement and activity. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to suffer diseases. Diseases are the body's survival mechanism when there is an imbalance. When there is a toxic build-up in the body, it reacts through sickness and disease. Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system and causes it to release toxins which are then eliminated through the skin as sweat. The skin is the largest organ used to release toxins from the body. When we do not exercise, we end up with a toxic build-up and this often manifests through sickness

Finally, we are what we eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are digested and absorbed into our blood stream to feed our cells, much faster than cooked foods. Our bodies are 70% water and need lots of fluid intake to keep healthy. Fruits and vegetables have what is generally known as "living water". Fresh fruits and vegetables also have much needed vitamins. High heat is known to destroy vitamins. Our bodies therefore gain more from raw foods than it does from cooked foods. Raw foods are also energy giving. When we eat cooked foods, our bodies have to work more than twice as hard to digest it yet it gives very little energy. When we eat, we must ask ourselves whether our bodies are expending more energy to digest it than it is receiving from the food. It is suggested that at least 50% of the food we eat should be "living". Most times we "kill" the food through cooking before we eat it. It is also suggested that we drink a lot of water in order to eliminate toxins through urine and keep our cells re-hydrated.

Nellie Odhuno Shani is a Counselor, Conference speaker and writer. Her first books are available on, Barnes and Nobles and on her author's websites.

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