Exercise I

The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle is, translated from Latin, the “lifter of both the upper lip and of the wing of the nose”. It has the longest name of any muscle in an animal.

You get the feeling the guy who named this muscle wanted future anatomy students to suffer. Not that we are complaining. Ace sailors are made in rough seas.

Similarly, a body in top condition is found in a physically strenuous environment. Exercise is where I am angling at.

Most of us think exercise is an optional extra, like you know, having 5G on your smartphone instead of 4G. You get faster internet speeds but it’s more of a luxury.4G works just fine in this decade. Or adding ginger to your cup of tea. Even without ginger, the tea is just okay.

Exercise isn’t like that. It’s a part of our system. An essential part. Like the sim card in a phone. Or the water in the tea. Without exercise, we wouldn’t even grow.

It is so interlinked with many other body systems that most times our bodies behave badly not because they like engaging in roguery but because they are lacking an indispensable part of them.

Exercise can affect brain activity and moods, immune system activity, muscle growth and maintenance, lung function, heart health, skin appearance and performance, joint health, appetite, sleep, creative thinking, kidney function, hormonal balance, bone health… should I keep going?

If one stopped walking for a year their legs would shrink and the bones in their legs would thin out and become fragile. That’s because our muscles are maintained by how much strain we put on them.

Give them little to no strain and they will just fade away. They are meant to carry loads but without burdens to bear they feel sidelined and so they pack their belongings and take their leave.

Many other muscles behave like leg muscles. They need action to exist and maintain such existence. So to keep looking like human beings we need to exercise. A lack of exercise might leave the body understaffed…but it is the replacement crew that makes a sedentary lifestyle more dangerous.

Chemicals released by the muscles during exercise affect how the brain functions. A lack of exercise puts one on the path to low moods, low self-esteem, low motivation, and finally depression.

For men, the fat accumulation turns into a female hormone factory. And why not. Fat molecules do a lot of good work in the body but they also happen to be a raw material for making hormones. And it seems there is fat to spare.

Not good news for a man. Breasts look good in women only. But that belly fat will give you mini-breasts if it is not tamed. It may sound absurd but it is reality.

The heart is also in peril. Blood vessels can be clogged by the fat molecules, denying the heart nutrients and oxygen. It also requires exercise to maintain its strength levels.

Like a loving servant, it will try its best to work with what it can get but eventually, it will become so weak that the grim reaper will come and put it out of its misery. And where the heart goes, we go too. Look out for part two of this conversation…

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