The healthiest people I know all exercise regularly. And most of them exercise with a lot of intensity. The most unhealthy people I know barely move much less exercise. The take home point is that if you want revolutionary health then you absolutely have to exercise.
Many patients at our Tulsa Functional Medicine clinic are interested in exercise but they don’t know exactly what to do. Exercise is vital for overall health and it really has very little to do with burning calories.
However, the KIND of exercise can make all the difference in the world!
I’m sure you’ve seen someone who ran 20 miles a week and still didn’t lose weight, it might even have been you. Burning calories is not what causes weight loss. Ironically, it also doesn’t have as much to do with how much you eat either but that is another topic.
If it isn’t how many calories you eat and how many calories you burn through exercise then what is it?
It is all about hormones!
Within the nucleus of every cell in your body (except red blood cells) lies the master control center: DNA
Your DNA controls cellular function. It encodes for the proteins and functions needed for the cell to do what the cell is supposed to do. You can think of your DNA as a reference or “how-to” manual for the cell. The problem is that your cells do not live in isolation. They live within a changing, and often, toxic environment. They are constantly under attack by bacteria, viruses, oxidative stress, toxins, and numerous other factors that can harm or even kill them.
Cells get damaged. And when they do they need to fix themselves. DNA is not only the “how-to” manual for the cell but it is also the “repair manual.”
Just because you have a certain gene or genetic SNP does not mean that gene is turned on and functioning. Genes are available but only accessed under certain conditions. You may have a repair manual for your car but you may not ever need the page (instructions) for ‘how to change a lightbulb.’ You have to have a need for that page, open the book, and follow the instructions.
This is how DNA works. If there is a specific need the cell turns to that specific gene for the instructions for that need. Turning on some genes is a bad thing. For example, if you have the genetic SNP for 9p21 and those genes are turned on, then you have a 100% increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The cool thing is that you can change the genetic expression and make it where that gene isn’t ever turned on.
So what turns these genes on and off?
These genes are not turned on and off randomly. They are turned on and off when needed or when certain conditions are met. Hormones and other cell messenger molecules are the signals to turn these genes on and off. There are many of these cell messengers and there are many reasons they will trigger the response.
This is one of the reasons that hormones (and hormone therapy) are so important.