Torch, Summer 1980

6 EXERCISE TO STAY HEALTHY? THAT SOUNDS UKE TOO MUCH WORK! Elvin R. King (though athletes on every level of ability have long known the human body responds positively to physical exercise, the use of exercise to prolong good health was not strongly advocated in the United States until the late sixties. Dr. Kenneth Cooper's Aerobics, printed in 1968, summarized much research. It indicated that people who exercised daily were closer to their proper weight and suffered fewer incidences of heart and lung problems than people who were less active. In addition, these active people spent less money on health care .and fewer days in the hospital. To put it simply, the human body .reacts to exercise by the same principle as a vaccination. A smallpox vaccination is an injection of weakened smallpox bacteria into the body. The body responds by producing natural defenses toward this bacteria in quantities large enough to destroy full-strength bacteria if they should be contacted at a later date. When exercise is completed, the body responds by producing strength and endurance that will allow one to accomplish a more strenuous exercise if it becomes necessary or desirable at a later time. In the beginning before God created man, "there was not a man to till the ground" (Gen. 2:5b). There was physical labor to be done and man was appointed to fulfill this task. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to till it and to keep it" (Gen 2:15).We see that work at first was not a consequence of sin, but rather it must have been a pleasant experience. Genesis 3:23 states that after the original sin, "... God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." The human body was created with the capacity to work. Research tells us that exercise is necessary to maintain our physical abilities. The technological age has removed much of the exercise from work. Compare washing clothes in a tub with a washboard to the task of operating today's modem washing machines with "miracle" detergents. Compare cutting wood with an ax and chisel to turning up the thermostat in our pleasant, insulated homes. This lack of exercise in the daily routine has gradually infiltrated American society to the point that, as a nation, the general fitness level has deteriorated. A sports enthusiast may be very active and knowledgeable about many sports today without leaving the comfort of his overstuffed chair. Automation has even reached into sports participation when a cart is driven around the golf course. The golfer then tells us he plays for the exercise. Americans are suffering many physical problems that are related to this kind of inactivity. Heart problems are the leading cause of death in the United States. In 1975, according to Dr. James A Fixx, one million Americans had heart attacks. One-half resulted in sudden death. The average age of these victims was 35 years, 9 months. Since the heart is a muscle, it will strengthen as a result of exercise. When the skeletal muscles of the body work, they need oxygen. This demand for oxygen requires a larger supply of blood to be pumped by the heart. The increased pumping of the heart is exercise which causes the heart to respond by becoming stronger. Lower back pain is often associated with lack of physical activity. The vertebrae are held in place when the muscles have good tone. When muscles become small and weak, the vertebrae are free to move around and create problems by putting pressure on nerves. Exercise is also a positive release for pressures that are associated with our busy lifestyle. This release of pressure, along with the improved self-image that