Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting back in the Groove

My new exercise attitude is still holding steady. Thanks very much to those of you who offered encouragement and advice. Music was an especially good piece of advice (thanks Leslie!), and I don't know why I ever stopped using my ipod when I exercised. But once I incorporated it back into the picture, it really helped a lot!

So far, my tally for exercise this week is:

Tuesday: 60 minute yoga class
Wednesday: 20 minutes on the rebounder and 10 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 40 minute walk
Friday: 30 minute bike ride and a 25 minute walk
Saturday: 75 minute yoga class
Sunday: Mowed the lawn (does that count?) and 30 minutes on the rebounder.

The rebounder, for those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, is a little mini-trampoline. It's actually really fun to use (Jasper likes it too) and is much easier on the joints than running or jogging. I've read that it is also one of the very best exercises you can do for your immune system because it really gets your lymphatic system going. Ready for a quick biology lesson? This was all news to me, so I'm betting it might be newsworthy to some of you as well.

The lymphatic system is a little bit like your circulatory system. But unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump (a heart) to keep things moving. It only moves because of exercise or muscle contraction. Within the lymph system are lymphocytes like white blood cells (which if you remember anything at all from biology are great little disease fighters). They consume metabolic waste, bacteria, and dead cells. One type of lymphocyte known as T-cells enters cancer cells and destroys them. Yes. Destroys them. Moderate exercise not only helps to increase the number of lymphocytes in your body, it keeps the lymph system moving and unplugged, so those little buggers can get busy and do their thing. And the lymph fluid also helps bring nutrients to your cells while taking away their waste. It's like a combined sanitation system/grocery delivery system for your cells. But you have to move your body to make it work.

I don't know about you, but I sure didn't remember anything about the lymph system from high school biology. It's not like you get a primer on body systems from the doctor when you get cancer either. It seems like this would be a useful thing to tell people, don't you think?

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