Laurel and Hardy. Cheech and Chong, Lennon and McCartney. Diet and exercise.
Sorry about that. Some pairings are more appealing than others. The diet post has to be followed by the exercise post. The human body forgives slacking on diet more readily than it forgives no exercise.
The data is compelling. Prevention of breast cancer and colon cancer can be linked to physical activity. Decreasing one's risk of Alzheimer's disease can be linked to exercise. Improvements in memory via new connections AND new brain cells can be found in studies of the benefits of exercise. Science that correlates exercise with decreases in Type II diabetes, and prevention of heart disease, is old news.
Wear it out or rust it out? Exercise-related wear and tear was covered in a landmark article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1998. Across a wide range of age groups, the period of disability was shorter before death in those who exercise. The study was published with its oldest participants at age 75.
Why don't we just get up off our sedentary butts and do it? Twenty minutes, half an hour a day? It is a small investment for feeling better the other 16 hours of awake time.
We humans are gamblers. We are also incredibly short-sighted. Our brains are not wired for predicting outcomes that are concepts. We are very good at predicting simple, concrete outcomes. The farther off in the future that the reward exists, the less likely we are to pursue it. Would you choose to go the the gym, sweat for half an hour on the treadmill, and hope that you will prevent cancer/diabetes/heart disease/Alzheimer's? Balance that with knowing that you will sweat and huff and puff for sure as soon as you get to the gym. We gamble. We bargain. Missing exercise THIS ONCE probably won't kill me. Missing exercise this week won't have much long term consequence, right?
Thus we never exercise. We lose muscle mass. Our tendons and ligaments lose elasticity, stiffen. We don't move as well as we used to, and injury is easier, and more likely. The body forgives less and less. Quality of life decreases. It starts with a vengeance after age 40.
The other bad news, of course, is that exercise is a three-legged stool. All three parts need to be addressed. Aerobic work, resistance (weights) work, and flexibility need to be included.
I'm not here to tell you that it is easy. I do it. I don't particularly like it. I don't get those famous endorphin highs from any of it. I feel so much better after the exercise is done, mostly because I know it is done for another day. But over short periods of time, the rewards are wonderful. Clothes fit better even without weight loss. (Muscle takes up less room than fat.) Daily tasks are easier with some muscle, some aerobic endurance, and a modest amount of flexibility. The prevention of disease stuff is reassuring.
Everyone calculates their own gambling odds with daily decisions about whether or not to exercise. I've lived both sides and prefer how I feel with exercise. Even if you silently mutter that you feel just fine without daily torment, go back to the studies. Do you really want to rely on luck and genetics to protect you? I can tell you from two decades in medicine that statistics are against you on that one.
I'm gamboling with my fiber stash. The new Clemes&Clemes handcards had a workout with one ounce of 75% Gotland/25% Shetland washed locks from Morro. This will be spun woolen for no particular purpose other than to introduce my hands to another sheep breed.
The fiber season can't start soon enough. I can't wait to smell sheepy fleeces, spend time with the fiberfolk, revel in spring sunshine with our people.