Here’s some interesting research announced a couple of days ago on Science Daily:
Synopsis: Children who exercise and are exposed to stress have very little rise in cortisol, whereas sedentary couch potatoes have a rather nasty surge.
LYNN SAYS: This is important because we see more and more research about depression being a primary inflammatory illness. Inflammation means the body is primed to fight injury or infection. But where there is no actual injury or infection, the inflammation damages us emotionally as well as physically. Here we see how important daily physical activity is (incuding climbing stairs or working in the garden, which is just as helpful as going to the gym).
MORE ON EXERCISE:
As if that weren’t enough, here’s a study showing that short bouts of exercise (not long, painful ones!) are associated with better self control and better executive function. This is true with children, adolescents, and adults.
LYNN SAYS: Self control is highly predictive of success in life. Think about nearly all religions and their emphasis on resisting sin. Assuming that religion is ubiquitous because it helps us succeed, this is one reason that may be the case. When we say “no” to impulses and exercise self-control, we plant seeds that will yield years of impressive fruit.
Think of the famous Marshmallow study by Walter Mischel, and the serendipitous finding that children who were able to not eat the marshmallow were more successful later on in life.
My grandmother used to say, “People don’t wear out, they rust out.” Well, good coming from her since she died in her 60s of cancer and didn’t have a chance to wear out. But in any case, there is likely good reason behind that saying. Regular hard work seems to immunize us against stress and early aging.