Diet and exercise have been the mainstay of healthy living advice since the beginning of time. So it’s no surprise to hear that exercise is good for you.
Hitting the gym or getting a regular workout is fantastic not only for your physical health, but your mental health benefits as well.
So lets talk about how exercise can keep your brain healthy, your body strong, and of course… how working out will affect your glutathione pathway.
Exercise For Mental Health
It’s always been noted that exercise is good for your mental health and happiness. Moderate activity is used to treat depression, curb addiction, and increase self confidence.
The memory and motivational benefits can be tremendous if you stick to it.
Huffingtonpost put out an article on “13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise” that you can check out. It’s a good list, so we’ve borrowed it and attached our own column of reasons those mental health benefits arise from exercise!
Physical Benefits of Exercise
It’s not all depression fighting and happy chemicals though. Exercise will increase your cardiovascular health and metabolism, improve bone density, maintain your physical capabilities, and ultimately improve your overall immune health.
You can use exercise as a controlled way to raise your heart rate, remember it’s a muscle, building it strong makes every day cardiovascular duties a trivial matter. Similarly you stimulate blood flow to your extremities and throughout muscle tissue, keeping your circulatory system healthy. Ultimately exercise will help you lower blood pressure, help manage cholesterol issues, and improve your body’s ability to move life giving nutrients and protective enzymes and antioxidants throughout.
Very much related to the cardiovascular points, exercise is going to boost your energy.
The irony is this is an extremely cyclical issue, you feel sluggish so you decide not to hit the gym, because you don’t hit the gym you feel sluggish. You need to break the cycle!
When you are sedentary your body is running inefficiently, your heart has to beat harder just to keep basic blood flow. With some regular exercise you will improve oxygen delivery, muscle strength and endurance. That bonus oxygen and the ease of delivering nutrients throughout your body mean it’s working more effectively.
Increased energy (and staying trim) make notable improvements to your sex life as well. More energy, less likely hood of erectile dysfunction, improved confidence, motivation, and creativity. Sounds like a recipe for a healthier better sex life.
Sleep studies have shown keeping a regular exercise schedule has a fantastic impact on getting a full restful sleep. As a corollary to that, a full restful sleep leads to a better workout the next day! If you want to use this to your advantage hit the gym at least three or four hours before bed time and go hard! This uses up a bunch of energy and gives your body time to cool down which triggers a sleep response.
A long term bonus benefit that people overlook, is how crucial exercise is to your bone health. Exercise in your younger years stimulates bone growth, and continued exercise throughout your middle years helps maintain them. Even as you get older some simple weight-bearing, balance, and posing exercise will keep your bones from thinning so you can keep doing the things that are important to you without fear.
… and yes of course we will mention the obvious… weight loss.
Exercise helps you control your weight!
Keeping a healthy weight has countless health benefits, lowers stress and incidence of disease, improves confidence and… of course helps you feel sexy!
Check out our sedentary vs. fit graphic for a great list of health benefits.
Glutathione and Exercise
So you get it… exercise will help boost physical and mental health. Now let’s talk about a benefit your friends on the treadmill probably don’t know much about. Exercise as it relates to your cellular protector, glutathione. We know the health benefits of glutathione in a world of rampant molecular stress factors. So what happens when we throw some GSH into the exercise and fitness mix.
No Pain No Gain
When we exercise either through exhaustive aerobics or weight training we are initiating acute oxidative stress and damage to our body.
You are designed to adapt! Like all things in nature struggle leads to growth. The extra oxygen and reactive molecules we create with exercise are productive and controlled damage with a purpose. (Unlike the outside stresses of pollution, disease, or chemicals).
If you read our article what is glutathione? then you know GSH is your body’s primary antioxidant mechanism to protect cells from damaging oxidative stress. Well exhaustive and extraneous exercise creates oxidative stress!
If you haven’t heard the term redox biology, don’t worry, it’s a rapidly growing field and only gaining significant traction in recent years because of is showing to impact diverse roles within your body. The critical sub-field we are interested in is exercise redox biology which will likely drive future exercise science for years to come.
The basics of the science AND the origin of the word redox can be explained as follows:
– Oxidation is an increase in oxygen state (typically through the loss of electrons), and reduction is the decrease in oxygen state (typically through a gain of electrons). Oxidation, reduction, REDOX.
These reactions aren’t new, they occur within your body constantly and are known in environmental science and used in industry every day. In fact the metal on your car rusting away is part of a redox reaction. Well these reactions can play a similarly damaging role in the body when you have an abundance of ‘reactive oxygen species’ eager to pick up an electron from other molecules.
Antioxidants are there to protect your body by donating electrons to the free radicals (a redox reaction). So in general they have a bad rap… but the truth is there is obvious well-known benefits of exercise. Exercise is an example of inducing acute increases in oxidation stress, to stimulate a redox reaction. Your workout will temporarily deplete glutathione levels, while stimulating your body to generate more!
We want the stress and the damage from exercise because it’s acute, controlled, and leads to the body adapting by increasing muscle mass, releasing beneficial hormones, increasing antioxidant production, and producing more glutathione.
Raise Glutathione Levels
So we’ve established that glutathione has huge health benefits, we can also see that glutathione is rapidly used up during intense exercise busy battling all those reactive oxygen species you are creating, and this stimulates production of more GSH. This makes exercise a great “supplement” to boost glutathione levels.
Unfortunately exercise isn’t the only thing that can deplete your GSH.
As you know most things in your body work in systems that are fairly easily trapped in cycles and we would suggest most people are already stuck in this pro-inflammatory, low glutathione state. Simply because we all live in a world of things that deplete glutathione:
- nutrient depletion
- mental stress
- poor diet
- poor nutrition
- disease or illness
- etc etc etc.
This means lower energy, poor recovery, susceptibility to sickness and toxic buildup. So what kind of gains are they likely to get from the gym?
Fun fact: guys in your gym lifting heavy are probably already supplementing glutathione without realizing it!
A high quality whey protein is a fantastic oral glutathione supplement because it provides a full amino acid profile including cysteine (used to create GHS). So not only are they getting protein calories and fuel, they are giving their body the nutrients they need to build antioxidants that keep inflammatory responses down and improve overall health and recovery.
If you want to break the sedentary cycle of inflammation and poor health, supplementing glutathione might be the key to get you started, and help you maintain and maximize your exercise routine.
Exercise Total Benefits Package
You already knew exercise was healthy. You probably knew at least parts of the long list of depression fighting, memory improving mental benefits.
You’ve always known about the fitness, weight loss, metabolic syndrome battling, cardiovascular boosting physical benefits.
Now you can consider a variable that’s a little more subtle, and not as many people know about. Maintaining gluathione is crucial to your heath, to combat disease, detox from chemicals and heavy metals, and maintain cellular energy. Exercise can help stimulate your body to produce glutathione, and glutathione supplements might be the best way to break the sedentary cycle and maximize your workout.