Why training your legs matters for your health – Short Tao

I like to train my legs. Leg day, which in my case is usually a squat day, happens most often even more than once a week. The results on overall strength, power and also physique speak for themselves – not only in my case.

Back Squats - Training Legs

In a recent study done in Italy, researchers showed that subjects using legs, especially in resistance training, “sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system“.

Furthermore, cutting these exercises out, meant that our bodies had difficulty to produce new nerve cells. These cells are, in part, needed to handle and adapt to stress.

We are made to move

In other words: human beings are designed and evolved to move around, walk, run, sit, squat, lift heavy objects. All of these things have the use of our legs in commong.

This also means that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. It’s not merely our brain telling our limbs to move around.

When the scientists digged a little deeper they “found that restricting exercise lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, which creates an anaerobic environment and alters metabolism. Reducing exercise also seems to impact two genes, one of which, CDK5Rap1, is very important for the health of mitochondria — the cellular powerhouse that releases energy the body can then use. This represents another feedback loop“. (my emphasis)

These findings have severe consequences for people who are forced to be sedentary, like astronauts to name one extreme case, but also people suffereing from motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, or spinal muscular athrophy.

I personally wonder how much potential health benefits in resistance training can be found for brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Further research will tell us more about that.

Approaching health with a holistic lifestyle

A trend I have seen over the past couple of years is the realization that our body is one holistic system. Body, brain and gut are linked together in ways we aren’t able to understand yet.

In other words, to live a healthy life, it seems that we need to live in a way that lets all parts of our body thrive, the physical body, the gut microbiome, our brain, and soul (in a metaphysical and/or religous sense).

What to do make of this? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to comment, share and like this article on the social networks and with your friends.

This article is part of the Short Tao series. These are posts, articles, reviews and similar content, provided to you in a short and easy to digest format. This means, I cut to the chase quickly and aim to make it as short and informative as possible. The content, especially when it comes to science, is up to date when I publish it, but times change. So, if anything you read here has been seen changes, make sure to let me know. Ultimately, this is for your entertainment and education. Comment below to share your thoughts and make sure to let your friends know of this information too – it could change lives.

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