Why should YOU exercise? :)

Done all my classes, now I’ve just got exams in the way of my Christmas break! Spent most of my day studying… then came home and made myself cauliflower mash (delicious) and the tastiest desert I’ve made in a long time! Lol I mixed 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts, 1 mashed banana,1 cut up apple, half a tablespoon of coconut oil, cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut sugar and baked it… soooooo indescribably good :p.  I ate this feast while giving into my guilty pleasure (and procrastinating) of ‘the vampire diaries’ lol.

Here are some more pictures of me climbing in Ontario, cannot wait for the spring!



And a showcase of extreme flexibility :p…



Exercise is something that everyone should actively incorporate into their life; the benefit of even a single bout of exercise has huge implications towards our health. Exercise has been linked to lower rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physiological function, fitness and health are improved through regular exercise which ultimately leads to significant beneficial adaptations. So what’s going on here? This blog post will briefly discuss the implications of exercise to our health and well-being. Why should you exercise? Here are some good reasons for ya lol…

So you’ve probably heard that people who have more muscle burn more calories and fat, how does that work? Well, there are a number of reasons that include the following…Exercise increases the activity of an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL); this enzyme ultimately increases the breakdown of triglycerides to fatty acids for fuel.  Exercise also increases mitochondrial content (necessary for aerobic metabolism) of our adipose tissue; fatty acid oxidation is seen to rise approximately four-fold. The rate of ‘futile cycling’ also increases; futile cycling is essentially us wasting energy, i.e. burning more calories. Our bodies respond to low energy environments by giving them more fat than is actually required (fat is an incredibly rich source for energy); the unused fat needs to then be re-esterified which takes energy. Futile cycling is associated with improved insulin sensitivity. Take home point- our muscles get better at burning fat through exercise.

How can exercise make us healthier? This is also multifactorial but I will primarily focus on the implications towards the electron chain transfer (ETC) at the mitochondria (a huge source of aerobically derived energy) (beware, this is about to get even techier- bear with me, I’ll sum things up at the end!)…

To paint a better picture, I’ll describe the implications of over-eating. When our food intake increases, more substrates are sent to the ETC resulting in more ions being pushed through. Our metabolism cannot keep up with this and eventually the ETC will slow down and a back pressure will be created. Ions will spend more time at each complex in the ETC and as a result have a greater chance of combining with oxygen to form superoxide. More reactive oxygen species are then created which is very bad news for our health (e.g. ROS can be linked with cancer risk). Typically when our body use the energy created by the ETC, the energy available will decrease. The lower energy environment will help dissipate this membrane potential and in turn decrease the ROS production.  At increased food intakes, the energy will still be too high and the membrane potential will not be dissipated. During exercise, the low energy environment in the mitochondria will decrease reactive oxygen species (ROS) by dissipating the above membrane potential and ultimately allowing hydrogen ions to flow through. Take home point- exercise decreases the ROS from the ETC.

Exercise also decreases our risks for diabetes. Exercise increases glucose uptake by our cells by stimulating more GLUT4 (glucose transporters) to membranes, this helps improve insulin sensitivity. Improved lifestyles, following the American food pyramid and exercising 150 minutes per week, has been shown to improve risks for diabetes by 58%! Just one bout of exercise is able to prevent lipid-induced insulin resistance. Furthermore, exercise can decrease insulin and insulin growth factor and effectively reduce risks for cancer (which requires glucose for growth). Exercise has also been shown to improve drug efficacy.

Not only is exercise good for our well-being, it also allows us to get strong (duh lol :p)!Our bodies adapt to high stress exercises in order to make them easier the next time. Exercise stimulates protein synthesis and breakdown; we need positive nitrogen balances to build muscles (otherwise we will lose muscle mass). Exercise improves the efficiency of amino acid conservation and protein synthesis during training. Furthermore, resistance training has been shown to enhance elderly sit to stand strength.

Exercise may have been an essential ingredient for the evolution of human intelligence! The hunter gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors required large increases in aerobic activity which altered the human physiology to enable the utilization of new resources in their changing environments. Recent studies suggest both acute and long term exercise increases brain size and improves cognitive performance in humans as well as other animals. Recently, work suggests that the rise in exercise may have been a factor for increased brain sizes and overall intelligence in our ancestors.

So a summary of everything we’ve discussed; exercise makes us better at burning fat, improves insulin sensitivity, helps us avoid ROS formation AND makes us smarter. There are soooooo many other positive effects derived from exercise, but for the sake of keeping this post (relatively) reader friendly, I’ll end it here. In future posts I’ll delve more into other topics surrounding exercise including implications on cardiovascular disease. Now that winter weather is in full swing, hopefully this will give some of you guys the motivation to keep at your workout regimes!

Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Achten J, Jeukendrup AE. (2004) Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet. Nutrition;20(7-8):716-27.

de Lemos ET, Oliveira J, Pinheiro JP, and Reis F. (2012) Regular physical exercise as a strategy to improve antioxidant and anti-inflammatory status: benefits in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Oxid Med Cell Longev.;741545. doi: 10.1155/2012/741545.

Golbidi S, Mesdaghinia A, and Laher I. (2012) Exercise in the metabolic syndrome. Oxid Med Cell Longev.;349710. doi: 10.1155/2012/349710.

Raichlen DA, and Polk JD. (2012) Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology. Proc Biol Sci;280(1750):20122250. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2250.

Rivera-Brown  AM, and Frontera WR. (2012)Principles of Exercise Physiology: Responses to Acute Exercise and Long-term Adaptations to Training. PM R.;4(11):797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.10.007.

Turcotte LP, and Abbott MJ. (2012) Contraction-induced signaling: evidence of convergent cascades in the regulation of muscle fatty acid metabolism. Can J Physiol Pharmacol.:1419-33. doi: 10.1139/y2012-124.

Yeo WK, Carey AL, Burke L, Spriet LL, and Hawley JA. (2012) Fat adaptation in well-trained athletes: effects on cell metabolism. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab.(1):12-22.

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54 comments on “Why should YOU exercise? :)

  1. elissakerpen says:

    That is such a fantastic post! Would you mind if I share it in my blog ‘the wholefood truth?’ I’ll wait to hear from you before I action anything.

    Thx Elissa x

  2. Hi Jen! I have been spending some time this morning catching up on your awesome blog! I love your photos and your explanations of the scientific side of things :-) Looking forward to reading more!

  3. swabby429 says:

    I workout six or seven days a week at the local “Y”. I’m completely addicted to the Expresso bikes. I have no financial interest in the Expresso company, but I advocate for them at the gym. My workouts put me in a positive frame of mind. I also feel that I have a leg up on most other 60 year old men.

  4. Awesome post! I’m preparing for finals, as well, studying for my exercise physiology class and this is a great summary of a bunch of stuff we learned. Thanks for helping me study ;)

  5. URL says:

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  6. The Landy says:

    Great read…and climbing, and flexibility!

  7. steffturner says:

    great post! and your dessert sounds amazing! I like to mix 3 Tbsp Hemp Hearts, 3 Tbsp organic shredded coconut, 1/4 tsp or more organic “true” cinnamon and full fat cream (just enough to soak everything). Yummy! also sometimes I add raisins if I want a little extra sweetness or some additional carbs i.e. before a workout.

  8. mbabb6 says:

    SO informative! I love reading more about the scientific side of things and it just makes me feel that much better about my workouts! Thanks for sharing your knowledge in a way that I actually understand ha

  9. I found this website very usefull and I just wanna thank you for that. I hope you keep up the good work!

  10. Alex Katzen says:

    Awesome and inspiring post! Great climbing pictures too!

  11. soulofspice says:

    thanks for stopping by :) I love your pix of climbing that rock, amazing.. I’d love to do that some day, but a tad frightened.. and did you say you’re from ontario.. nice to meet a fellow ontarian.. charu

  12. leliselittle says:

    LOVE cauliflower mash – new addict right here! And AWESOME photos – definitely makes me wanna climb! I know it’s a little different from what you’re doing, but Kilimanjaro is 100% on my bucket list… whew!

  13. Iris D. says:

    Wow! A fresh take on discussing the benefits of exercise, complete with scientific explanations on a blog with references and all. Thank you for taking the time to write these. The world needs to read more! :)

  14. gratissex says:

    I found this weblog very funny and I just wanna say thanks. I hope you keep up the good work!

  15. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  16. sambit7 says:


    Nice post Jen..

  17. i don’t know if it is suitable but you could make some tips for writing in a blog. that would help a lot. lista de emails lista de emails lista de emails lista de emails lista de emails

  18. Reblogged this on whohastimeforthegym and commented:
    A great blog on the science behind exercise and why we should do it.

  19. johnandtony1 says:

    You have some awesome climbing photos, Jen.


  20. I such as the useful info you offer into your content pieces.I’ll bookmark your blog website and test all over again below commonly.I’m particularly totally sure I’ll know quite a bit of latest things proper right here! Beneficial luck for that future!

  21. Jen, you’re pretty much amazing. I love the science behind your thoughts. Keep it coming… ;-) I’m wondering what you’d post about portion size and/or caloric intake? Maybe you have already posted on that (outside of the overeating post)? Thanks for the great stuff. And I hope you get to try the Orange Cranberry Salad. ~Susie

  22. Sports365in says:

    a nice in depth look into the advantages of exercising! great blog article..!

  23. andmorefood says:

    those are some great photos of your climbing!

  24. I just want to say I am very new to blogging and really enjoyed your page. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You definitely come with great articles and reviews. Thank you for sharing your webpage.

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  29. Just discovered this site through Yahoo, what a way to brighten up my day!

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