loader image
Learn About Nutrition
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
Air Pollution
Allopathic Medicine
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Calorie Restriction
Drinking Water
Editor Picks
Help and Support
Optimal Diet
Paleo Diet
Physical Activity
Raw food diet
Vegan Diet
Vitamin D

Exercise- Why exactly do we need it?

by Milos Pokimica ND

by Milos Pokimica ND

Learn About Nutrition

"In the health community, exercise has almost a mythical status as one of the best things you can do for yourself except for avoidance of smoking."

We all know that training or exercise of any sort is healthy for us. Medical doctors like to talk a lot about prevention and a big part of prevention will come down to exercise, weight management, and refined food avoidance. It is so important that we have physical activity in schools. We have different kinds of sports. We have soccer and basketball professional leagues for watching in leisure time, even the Olympic Games. We glorify professional athletes as role models for our children. Even our dog gets agitated if he does not receive his daily dose of walking.

In the health community exercising has almost a mythical status as one of the best things you can do for yourself except for avoidance of smoking. In reality, when we look at scientific data the diet is the number one killer and most important health intervention. Only after diet, there are other risk factors associated with physical inactivity and bad habits like smoking.

Pushing the belief that physical inactivity is the biggest public health problem of the 21st century is not completely truthful.

Physical inactivity barely makes in the top ten leading causes of death in the world. Diet is number one and smoking is number two. This doesn’t mean however that exercise is not important. It just means that there are more important lifestyle changes that are affecting the quality of life in a more severe way.

Diet is absolutely number one. The problem we have is that food is an addictive substance and dietary habits cannot be so easily changed. People would just refuse to change their behavior. Exercise is pushed as a holy grail for that one reason. People are addicted to food and exercise unlike dieting can create a lot of profit from professional sport to supplements. There isn’t much money to be made out of carrots.

Promoting a whole food plant-based diet is everything except a money-making machine. Big pharma is a big business and so is the supplement industry. Exercise is a cost-effective and proven way to reduce mortality. Cost-effective means it does not lower the profits of existing businesses and most importantly a way that people can accept.  This doesn’t mean that it is not as important as a preventive measure. In real life, it will provide a substantial benefit. And yes we all should exercise.

physical health and exercise

By why?

That is the first question we should know. Well, it is not because exercise itself is healthy. It is a stressful, painful experience full of sweat and the possibility of injuries that increases oxidative stress and leads to the creation of free radical DNA damage. There are no animal species in nature that likes to “exercise”. There is nothing romantic in hunting or foraging for food. It is an existential necessity that is forced. When we exercise what we essentially are doing is that we are simulating an environment in which our ancestors have evolved. It is a form of self-inflicted pain. Pain that just by itself is not healthy and will create DNA damage due to excessive production of free radicals due to increased oxygen consumption.

If free radicals damage DNA and exercise leads to the creation of free radicals then how can it be that physical activity can be healthy?

free radical formation

It is because our hominin ancestors lived by foraging. That created evolutionary adaptations in our biology.  Physical activity was an essential component of their survival. You do not forage, you do not find food, you die. It is that simple. The only reason exercise is healthy is because in a million years of evolution our body adapted to it. Our body expects it as a normal part of life.

When we do not exercise we are out of balance with our physiology, and when we do, we give our body’s what they are expecting. When we go to the gym or do any other exercise like running on the treadmill, what we are doing is that we are simulating the conditions in the habitat of our hominin ancestors.

When we look for scientific research about exercise, what will we find? Does exercise matter or it is just something to help us lose weight more rapidly? What we find is that individuals with low levels of physical activity are at higher risk of many different kinds of diseases like, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and also early death by any cause. Long before that, inactivity increase lower-back pain, worsen arthritis symptoms, and lead to anxiety. Exercise can help with lowering the risk of early death, high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, adverse blood lipid profile, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, depression, and can increase cognitive and mental health, sleep quality, immune system function and longevity.

There are a couple of main benefits of physical activity. The first one and the main one will be its effects on the cardiovascular system. You are probably doing to do some “cardio” in the gym.

When we exercise, the heart starts to contracts forcefully and frequently. That will increase blood flow through the arteries and allow our muscles to use more oxygen. An increase in blood flow will cause subtle changes in the autonomic nervous system, which controls the contraction and relaxation of these vessels. This adaptation leads to lowering blood pressure, more variable heart rate meaning the ability of the heart to slow down or increase contractions when needed, lower resting heart rate overall which means increased efficacy of the cardiovascular system with fewer beats to pump blood through the body. All aspects have an impact on lowering cardiovascular disease.

England recommends physical activity and exercise
England Government Recommendation for Physical Activity

Exercise also lowers inflammation associated with the cardiovascular system. Exercise in research was able to cause around a 30 percent dip in C-reactive protein levels, a marker of inflammation. Thirty percent drop is about the same drop that statin (the cholesterol drug) is able to cause. It beefs up the body’s immune system and wards off cancer and other diseases.

One of the main benefits will also be an increase in insulin sensitivity. When someone runs, muscle contractions will increase the production of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This is an enzyme that promotes the breakdown of the fats that can interfere with the cell’s glucose transporters. AMPK can help in preventing type 2 diabetes.

Research in rats shows that physical exercise boosts BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is an essential factor in learning and memory. BDNF helps rats to remember how to navigate their way through mazes, and similar activity can be assumed in humans.

Exercise will help to maintain bone mass and will reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Bones become stronger when forced to adapt to bear more weight than usual.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) monitors this kind of research and releases periodically its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Recommendations are that:

“Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 exercise moderately (walking) for at least two hours and 30 minutes or vigorously (running, swimming, or cycling ten mph or faster) for at least an hour and 15 minutes weekly”.

Move your way, exercise
US Government Recommendation for Physical Activity

 That is about 11 minutes of running a day on the treadmill. For people who do not understand how to read this kind of release, the keyword is for at least. The more is better. They are recommending what they think may be achievable. When we look at their charts of correlation between exercise and premature death all we can see is just a steady linear drop. 

physical activity and mortality risk

If we exercise 180 minutes a week, we will have a 27% lower risk but if we exercise 420 minutes a week will have a 38.5% lower risk, and this kind of correlation is found in all studies and systematic reviews and meta-analysis of cohort studies. In one study (1) they reviewed 22 studies that met inclusion criteria. A study containing 977,925 individuals (334,738 men and 643,187 women) and found that 2.5h/week (equivalent to 30min daily for 5 days a week) compared with no activity was correlated with a decrease in mortality risk of 19%, while 7h/week of moderate activity compared with no activity reduced the mortality risk by 24%.

The conclusion was that:

“Being physically active reduces the risk of all-cause mortality.”

Going from no activity to a small amount was found to provide the most significant amount of benefit.

Canada recommendation for physical activity for children
Canada Government Recommendation for Physical Activity of Children

However, that does not mean that if we are active that there is no additional benefit. Even at high levels of activity benefits still, accrue from the additional activity. The more and the longer the exercise, the more the benefits.

Related Posts

  1. Malta Venus 4500 b.c.
  2. Chronic diseases The root causes
  3. a sculpture of tired man
  4. bmi index


Passages selected from a book: “Go Vegan? Review of Science: Part 1” [Milos Pokimica] (p17)

  1. Physical activity trajectories and mortality: population based cohort study doi: 10.1136/bmj.l2323
  2. Leisure Time Physical Activity and Mortality: A Detailed Pooled Analysis of the Dose-Response Relationship doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.0533
  3. Non-vigorous physical activity and all-cause mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq104

 1,913 total views

You Might Also Like

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Toxicity
  • Obesity
  • Prevention
  • Inflammation
  • Optimal Diet

Arsenic exposure and meat consumption- The “Poison-Free” Poultry Act

If we analyze arsenic pollution geographically, the U.S. is the number one most polluted place in the entire world. This is because arsenic-containing pesticides have been used in the farming industry for decades. Rice is not the main exposure source in the US. In the US around three-quarters of arsenic exposure comes from animal products directly and mostly from the chicken that is considered to be a "healthier" meat source. In second place is beef, then pork, hot dogs, eggs, milk.

Obesity Risk Factors

What are the risk factors associated with obesity? Animals eat impulsively because they are conditioned to do it for survival. For all life on the planet Earth, food is not a choice. It is a daytime job of survival. The hardest thing for an animal in the wilderness is to gain weight. Hardest thing for us is to lose it.


Learn About Nutrition

Medical Disclaimer


GoVeganWay.com brings you reviews of the latest nutrition and health-related research. The information provided represents the personal opinion of the author and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.



In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. GoVeganWay.com does not recommend or endorse any specific groups, organizations, tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned inside.

 1,914 total views

Words count 1,498

October 21, 2021


Follow US
Join our family of social followers.
11.9kTotal followers
Chat with us ( Viber or WhatsApp ) ...
Send us a message and we will be in touch with you as soon as we can ...
Customer supportVladimir ČomićViber
Customer supportVladimir ČomićWhatsApp


Floating Item
Floating Item

Editor Picks


The tale of Big Pharma- IG Farben

The part of Rockefeller monopoly on chemical and medicine industries came into fulfillment after WW2. Standard Oil and IG Farben cooperation made this into reality.

Binge eating disorder- The psychology of hunger

In nature, there is no free sugar or free fat. Energy is stored in complex whole food packages and one or the other form. Our brain had never been exposed to refined sugar or fat before and especially never been exposed to a combination of the two in high doses all at once.

Optimal human diet- Chronic diseases, diet wars, and the vegan argument

Our natural diet is a diet that our hominin ancestors were eating, not anatomically modern humans in the Stone age. As a consequence of the diet shift that is driven by the use of technology from starch-based to a mostly animal product-dominated Western type of diet, we will have to deal with an increase in disease risk due to maladaptation. It is not a bad genetic that gives us disease and that is a big open secret. Refined calories and animal products are not congruent with our biology.

Distilled water for drinking- Detoxification aid or a deadly poison?

There is much misinformation about the detoxifying properties of water and distilled water in particular. Water purification is a big business. What science has to say about it?

error: Alert: Content is protected !!