To be specific, the three exercise profiles we will discuss are aggressive exerciser, moderate exerciser, and no exerciser. This last category can be subdivided into “I don’t exercise” or “I’m going to start on Monday” or “Can you give me a light?” Now play along with me and commit to one of the above three categories. Sure there can be other subdivisions, but just go with the flow for now.
An aggressive exerciser is one who exercises almost daily, perhaps for several hours per day. He (or she) takes days off of his leg workout to recover from it while he does his arm workout. He may have a trainer. He uses the word “core” in conversations every day, and P90X is a frequent topic. If any of this sounds like you then you are the aggressive exerciser.
The moderate exerciser exercises because he should, not necessarily because he wants to. He does so about three times a week, does mostly cardio-type stuff, and maybe some weight machines. He forgets to do his exercises from time to time but keeps at it. Others talk about “core” and “six packs” but he doesn’t worry about such trivial things, because he doesn’t work out enough to ever have a core or a six pack. He has a case, but not a kegger.
And if you are a non-exerciser congratulations. You are among good company, as perhaps the majority of American adults do not exercise regularly or enough. And if you are a non-exercising smoker…my mother-in-law is a non-exercising smoker who can’t go to the bathroom without her oxygen line. I very sincerely hope you find a way to quit.
So now that you have sorted yourself into one of the above categories, let’s put the chiropractic twist on this. When we consider that the joints of the spine, and the entire body for that matter, are made of cartilage, and that the cartilage that we have when we turn 18 is pretty much all that we will ever have, because adult humans do not remake cartilage, who’s spinal joints are going to last longer? Who is going to have the least disc herniation, disc degeneration, facet arthritis, bone spurs? You have heard the saying use it or lose it…absolutely true. People who don’t exercise will have the worst time with spinal degeneration because the joints just don’t get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. And if you smoke add vascular insufficiency and oxidative stress to the bad for cartilage side of the list. On the other side of the coin, people who are aggressive exercisers are more likely to cause injury to their joints, which also accelerates degeneration. So they too are more likely to have more joint problems as they age.
So the winner is the moderate exerciser! Walk some, hike some, swim some, lift some, row some. Three days a week is enough to keep your heart in shape and not wear out the joints. You may not have the sculpted body and the microscopic body-fat percentage. But statistically you’ll live longer, have fewer joint problems, a healthier spine, and less medical intervention. Once again, moderation in all things continues to be the way to go.
As I stated, regardless of what group you are in this article is not to change you, but to warn the aggressive exercise to watch out for injury, and the non-exerciser to watch out for everything else.