Monday 27 April 2009

Does regular exercise improve the bodies ability to heal and restore?

Just a thought but I was really active every day last week and by yesterday I felt that not only had I recovered but I'd now got so much more energy than I normally have at that time. I just kept wanting to go out and run for a couple of hourrs. Anything to be active. Even though I'd gone for a long walk in the morning.

It's one of those things that unfortunaly we can't measure outside of a laboratory but I remember feeling the same every time I've had a life with regular activity. Particularly one with regular intense activity like when I used to play tennis for 3 hours then 5 a side football for 2 hours on a saturday. Boy did that make me fit. Not just that thought I feel I just plain recovered faster. 

It's made me wonder whether our bodies ability to heal itself is something we can train in any way. Again this is probably a pip dream and I'd expect limits but I just don't know if this has been investigated in any specific way since exercise and it's effect on the body is a very neglected area of research. 

It certainly seems possible that regular exercise, particularly intense activity, will put a strain on energy systems and force them to find a way to provide energy and nutrients at rates faster than before. Just to sustain the high rates of activity. Thids can be seen in the cardiovascular, nervous and other improvements that do just that. 

This would automatically benefit the recovery process because the ability to provide energy, nutrients and other items, simply because the body can now deliver these things where they're needed faster and the body has begun to learn how to be more efficient with what it has thus the same amount of raw material will go further. In terms of rebuilding the body this would mean it gets done faster and thus recovery is sooner.  All you need is sufficient rest. 

I'm just wondering if this recovery process is true throughout the body. Maybe the improved nutrient transport systems, and better coordinated organs required to sustain intense activity  now also help provide a netter immune response and damage repair throughout the body. All because intense activity has an impact on the whole body. In active organs are required to resynthesis lactic acid to pyruvate or glycongen and return this to the working muscles thus those inactive muscles still get a work out and have to improve. the nervous system has to find ways to coordinate hundreds of individual movements whilst maintaining normal function at an enhanced rate plus coordinate extra functions such as intense sweating and heat regulation strategies. 

At the same time water levels must be maintained. Since more water is required for sweating many parts of the body may have to learn how to function with less water than usual or other processes to minimise this impact on individual cells could be developed. 

All this could simply be part of a standard plan written in our DNA developed over eons to handle the intense demands that vigorous activity provide. 

In essence I'm wondering whether the act of intense activity puts  pressure on our body to do so much at once it's main adaptation is to get better, faster and stronger at everything it normally does. 

What I've always noticed is that young people are generally very active and older people are much less so. The older people have more health problems than the younger and many appear to be releated to inactivity. 

As younger people are becoming less active on a regular basis they also seem to be developing many illnesses that we exclusive to older people. This seems like a trend. 

This describes populations which means there is plenty of individual variation and that is what interests me. I see little correlation in those who are healthy and active in later life and their food and drink. I've seen plenty who regularly drink to excess and eat all the 'wrong' things. Working in a gym you see this. I've seen very few that are inactive. Particularly the older people get the more activity itself seems to help the human body keep itself maintained. My theory is that it's the stimulus. vigorous exercise (I mean vigorous in relation to the individual) particularly, for the body to repair itself and maintain the ability to repair itself. 

At the minutest level I expect that regular activity encourages your body to protect its DNA blueprint so it keeps a reliable record of how to fix itself.

This article is now published as Does regular exercise improve the bodies ability to heal and restore?

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