You have to break it down to build it up

Posted on September 14, 2009


Did you know that you are the foreman of the remodel business of your body?

You are in control of what features get updated & renewed or which ones fall into disrepair. Your body knows 2 things: growth or decay. Either you are sending chemical signals that say, “replace this with a new model” or you’re sending chemcial signals that say, “break down soon.” If you are exercising strenuously, your body is releasing chemicals that are creating micro-trauma in the body and it is the time immediately following exercise that is the most vital for the repairs to the micro-trauma to begin. Having that snack post-workout can be one of the most helpful things you do for yourself to stay young for as long as possible – even if you’re 67  and setting the Guiness record for body parts gravity is working against.

The repair is the body actually creating new parts for you to use; rather than being stuck with the same old part for your entire life, it is like you are giving yourself an “upgrade” every few weeks or months depending on which part you are rebuilding and renewing. Think of the kitchen in your home- if you have not remodeled it and upgraded it in the last 30 years, it is going to have an increased chance of having parts that break down and it is going to have a level of inefficiency when compared to modern kitchens with modern conveniences. 

It takes a surge of energy expenditure from strenuous exercise to initiate this chemical response in your body and unfortunately, if you do not exercise at all, your body is receiving a slow constant trickle of this breakdown chemical release without the chemical re-build that happens in those who exercise. That is, you are receiving chemical signals in your body to do some demolition, but nobody is getting any signal to begin re-building and upgrading. This can lead to early decay and rot i.e. disease and dysfunction in the body. 

The chemical reactions may sound stressful to the body and seem like they are in opposition to the goal of relieving stress in the body. But in fact, the opposite is true! The chemical breakdown/re-growth cycle also triggers and regulates key hormones: cortisol, adrenaline & testosterone. Imbalances in these hormones cause a myriad of issues relating to less than optimal health- many of which root in stress & it’s subsidiaries i.e. high blood pressure, increased inflammation in muscles, joints and organs, and even cancer. Our bodies actually want to experience the stress of exercise- it simulates what we used to do for survival, hunting, gathering, running from animals.

Exercise- at least enough to sweat- is giving the body the signal that things are going good, and the body should continue to grow strong and healthy. This signal needs to be sent daily to the body in order for it to remain regulated, so remember that when you think you should bust out a 5mile run when you’ve only just begun your program. If you workout so hard that you are in bed for a week after, you’re missing the point of the consistent, regular stress reliever/chemical balancer that exercise is trying to be.

 That “feel-good” factor that comes with doing and completing exercise is what moderates the stress in life, and not just because you don’t have feelings of guilt about not getting moving, but truly because you are triggering your hormonal response to the world around you and letting your body know that it is in good position to keep re-growing and building new parts for you because you are not turning in your spot on this Earth anytime soon!