“The Exercise Cure” was the TIME magazine cover story headline of the September 19th, 2016 edition. The byline was “The surprising science of a life-changing workout”. Now my hopes were up. Wondering to myself, could there really be a, as in one, life-changing workout? If so, what did it cure? What type of exercises are included in the workout? How strenuous is it? How long does it take? How often must one workout? Quickly opening to the table of contents the article was listed as starting on page 54. Opening at page 54 a two page spread of time lapsed photos of a man doing what a appeared to be forward and backwards gymnastics flips was presented. My heart sank. This was not going to be easy I concluded and probably not even attainable for me, even though I’m an active 66 year old senior that plays 90 minutes of full court basketball once a week with guys between the ages of 40 and 73.
Despite mild disappointment the page was turned and reading began. As it turns out, there is no one life-changing workout. In fact, much to my relief and disappointment, a workout can consist of almost any exercise from working in the flower garden to what one might think of as an exercise workout in a gym. Of course, with no one size fits all workout things were not as simple as I may have been hoped.
The article took a broad brush approach to discussing research on mice and that being sedentary is known to be bad. The research showed that mice who were similar differed dramatically when part of the group was allowed to be sedentary and the other made to exercise. Somewhat unsurprisingly given the title of the article “The New Science of Exercise”, the group that exercised was healthier and lived longer.
It was mentioned that movement and an increase in blood flow occurs with exercise and that while it could be strenuous exercise it could also be easier forms such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates. One researcher was mentioned that is trying to determine how easy exercise can be to be effective. It was also mentioned that exercise changes the structure and function of the brain although research is being conducted to understand why.
And a short history lesson was contained in the article pointing out that exercise was commonly prescribed by physicians in the early 20th century. However, and unfortunately, exercise prescription was abandoned in favor of pharmaceuticals and minor surgeries by the mid 1900s. And today, research is returning the focus to exercise. And that could be the end of this blog, yet it isn’t.
What the article leaves unanswered is what is it about exercise that makes it beneficial? Specifically, what is going on in the body that makes strength building, cardio, and even much easier exercise such as Tai Chi effective in increasing health, often decreasing pain, increasing longevity, and likely increasing the holy grail of health & wellness, quality of life? Is there a common link? If so, what is it? If so, why is it effective?
Yes, there is a common link and it is the key element supporting health gains from exercise. The benefit of the common link is captured with the Treadwell® Methodology, that was patented in 2011. The common link increases the effectiveness of one of the body’s systems which has been proven by two published peer reviewed studies. From hundreds of observations over a ten plus year period this methodology has been shown to enhance numerous additional functions and systems of the body contributing to increased healing and wellness plus often a reduction or elimination of pain. The common link is blood flowing in the circulatory system. The Treadwell® Methodology increases the velocity of blood flow, using the body’s “calf pump mechanism" with the individual providing 100% of the energy, yet leaving vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, and rate of breathing) unaffected. If the methodology can be labeled as exercise it is likely the easiest exercise one can accomplish.
The benefit of increasing the velocity of blood flowing in the circulatory system with vital signs unaffected are numerous and interrelated. First, blood flow is the medium by which oxygen, nutrition and all the other things the body needs for health & wellness, replenishment & repair are provided. Second, blood is the medium for transporting the residues of cellular activity back to the kidneys, lungs and other filtering organs of the body so the blood can be cleansed and readied to carry more oxygen and nutrition throughout the body. Third, the increased velocity results in the body receiving more of what it needs in a given time period. It can and from the previously mentioned observations does use the additional oxygen and nutrition wherever in the body needed; and the stuff that needs to be filtered is transported to the filtering organs more quickly. The body has the capacity to repair and replenish itself more quickly than what the blood flow provides without the increase.
What one may overlook when considering increased blood flow during types of exercise that require exertion above the level the Treadwell® Methodology requires is that the working muscles demand more resources from the increased blood flow which is primary to why pulse, blood pressure and respiration rate increase during exercise that creates work for any muscle or muscle group. When this increased demand occurs another change in the circulatory system occurs. The blood vessels around the exercising muscles increase in size, dilate, and hold more blood. That blood must come from another part of the body because there is a set amount of blood in the body. Therefore, the other part of the body loses blood flow and cannot repair and replenish as quickly, if at all, during more strenuous exercise. The more strenuous the muscle exercise the more the other areas of the body must sacrifice to support muscle activity. In general, repair and replenishment of the body occurs when the body is at rest. However, when one is at rest, excluding periods lying down sleeping, for an extended period of time Sedentary Death Syndrome commences its insidious health robbing effects on the body.
In conclusion, exercise is not the cure. Increased velocity of blood flow using the Treadwell® Methodology is the cure that is being sought from the exercise options discussed in the TIME article.