Periodic Pushups Prevent Pessimistic Proclivities

"Let's see - what should I do today...YouTube? IPod? Watch a DVD? Surf the 'net? Watch a little television? Uh, what was I thinking? Oh, who cares - I hate my life anyway."

A lack of physical activity leads to depression and dementia, evidence presented at the British Nutrition Foundation conference shows.

A new study from the U.K. shows that regular physical activity cuts the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 30 to 40%.

It is unclear why there is such a great effect but it could be associated with benefits to the vascular system as well as release of chemicals in the brain.

Professor Nanette Mutrie [from the University of Strathclyde] added: "It could be a simple case of use it or lose it."

Am I the only person around that has accepted (albeit grudgingly - cf. "pain: causes") the ubiquitous health benefits of exercise? I interview people all day and am astounded by how many of us refuse to get off the butt and onto the treadmill. The responses I get remind me of a teenage boy who has just been asked to take out the garbage:

"I know; I know....I'll do it," followed by a pathetic vacuum of silence.

Hey, it's time to spread the word that getting your heart rate up does more than reduce the risk of getting physical illnesses - the brain benefits, too.

[Professor Mutrie] said inactive people had twice the risk of becoming depressed and there was also very good evidence that exercise is a useful treatment for depression.

It's time to act, people. Now get out there and run, run, run! Oh, and by the way, when we say "exercise," we don't mean bending the elbow or pointing the remote. We mean real exercise, like this!

Well, maybe not quite like that - how about a nice jog down by the river? We'll see you in the gym, comrades, and don't act shocked if we look like we've lost weight!

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It's a vicious circle - lack of exercise leads to depression, and when you're depressed you can't possibly be bothered to exercise. Heck, even the basic requirements to breathe and eat seem like far more trouble than they're worth. When just getting through the day is a major struggle, it's really hard to make significant lifestyle changes.

Plus there's all the negative associations from P.E. back in school...

I like to walk. I like to get out for a walk of at least a mile or two every day. In the nice weather sometimes I'll ride my bike. But unfortunately for me, at the other end of that walk there is often a bakery.

Back when I wasn't a such a slug, I would do 10 pushups for each waste of time thing I shouldn't be doing. Back then it was sitting through a commercial. Now I think it should be opening up my RSS aggregator and checking the new feeds or browsing the web.

I do a set of exercises with light weights three times a day and find that it keeps weight where it should be, gives me some flexibility in my old age, keeps the digestive plumbing humming along, definitely keeps the vascular systems tingling, and though I usually don't want to do the exercises I feel happier afterwards. So, I agree with the research. I don't expect to live forever but I really want to feel decently while I do. Besides, I like being in control of my health and well-being.