ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Exercise is Important: The Tao of Balanced Energy

Updated on August 5, 2016

Exercise for Life

The tao (or path) of balanced energy is about keeping your body in harmony. Optimal functioning requires a balance of nutrition, exercise and spirituality. This path is explained in a series of three essays. The first essay, The Tao of Balanced Energy: Nutrition, Exercise, and Spirituality focused on nutrition. This essay focuses on exercise. The last in the series focuses on spirituality (mindfulness) and achieving spiritual harmony.

The Tao of Balanced Energy

The path to health includes physical activity.
The path to health includes physical activity. | Source

Why is exercise so important?

Everyone knows that physical activity—exercise--is good for you. However, very few people realize that being physically active is the single most important thing we can do to improve or maintain our health. Without physical activity, the body loses its strength, stamina, and ability to function well.

Regular physical activity lowers the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. It lowers blood pressure. It reduces cholesterol (lowering "bad: LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol), builds bones, and strengthens muscles. It alleviates arthritis or bursitis. It improves digestion, balance, mood, memory, brain function, and sleep. In short, it improves every aspect of daily function (even sex). It promotes longevity

And, of course, it helps you to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise Improves Health in Many Ways

Physical activity improves many aspects of health.
Physical activity improves many aspects of health. | Source

How does exercise have all these beneficial effects?

Why exercise has so many beneficial effects on health is not very well understood. Here are some of the reasons exercise “works.”

Exercise reduces fat.

Fat is not just an inert mass, sitting there looking ugly. Fat cells produce a variety of hormones. For instance, fat cells produce estrogen in post menopausal women and this is a risk factor for breast cancer as well as some other cancers. They also produce a variety of proteins that can cause inflammation and insulin resistance.

Exercise oxygenates the blood and encourages blood circulation.

Exercise increases your oxygen intake and makes your heart beat faster. This means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered your tissues, and your cardiovascular system works more efficiently.

The extra oxygen in the brain is the reason for reduced anxiety and tension, the alleviation of depression, and improved cognitive function.

Exercise improves the function of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system begins with the production of lymphatic fluids in the lymph nodes. This fluid bathes our body’s cells and carries the body’s cellular toxic waste away from the tissues and into the blood. These toxins are carried by the blood into the body’s two main detoxification organs--the liver and kidneys. The lymph nodes also produce the white blood cells which fight bacteria and infection.

However, the lymphatic system does not have a “pump.” Muscle contractions circulate the lymphatic fluid through a series of one-way valves in the body. The more physical activity, the better the circulation of the lymphatic fluids will be. Jumping, or "rebounding" on a mini-trampoline is particularly good for the lymphatic system.

Exercise makes you sweat.

Sweat is another way in which toxins are removed from the body.

Exercise effects gene expression..

Our genes are not our destiny. There are body processes which turn the genes on or off. This is done by a process called “methylation”—a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms attach themselves to a gene and make it easier or harder for the gene to become ‘expressed.” The gene is unchanged, but the behavior of the gene is. Physical activity can inhibit the expression of “bad” genes.

Exercise keeps mitochondria functioning.

Aging muscle can become riddled with malfunctioning mitochondria, cellular structures that convert food and oxygen into energy. Fat cells start to replace muscle cells. Exercise keeps the mitochondria cells functioning and thereby maintains muscle mass.

Exercise maintains telomere length.

Physical activity helps increase the length of telomeres, the tiny caps on the end of chromosomes in each of your body cells. When a cell divides, telomeres shorten and fray. When they become too short, the cell stops dividing and dies. Exercise can maintain telomere length extending the cell’s life span.

Exercise increases brain cells in the hippocampus.

Exercise can actually remake the brain, thereby improving cognitive function and memory. It can reverse the slow wasting away of the brain which begins around the age of 50.

A Rebounder Stimulates the Lymphatic System

Stamina 36-Inch Folding Trampoline | Quiet and Safe Bounce | Access To Free Online Workouts Included | Supports Up To 250 Pounds
Stamina 36-Inch Folding Trampoline | Quiet and Safe Bounce | Access To Free Online Workouts Included | Supports Up To 250 Pounds
Use a rebounder to help move lymphatic fluid through your body. They also come with a hand rail, if you need something to hold on to for balance while jumping. I like to jump while watching TV or out on my porch.

Exercise Can Help with Weight Control

Exercise is an important part of weight loss and weight maintenance.
Exercise is an important part of weight loss and weight maintenance. | Source

How can exercise help with weight control?

It’s simple. There must be a balance between the amount of energy taken in (calories from food) and the amount of energy expended (calories burned through metabolic processes and physical activity). If you wish to lose weight, you must expend more calories than you take in. This requires both a healthy diet and physical exercise.

The average person requires between 1500 and 2500 calories per day. Men need more calories than women; active peo0ple need more calories than less active people, taller people need more calories than shorter people.

When it comes to diet, a calorie is not just a calorie. You could eat 2000 calories worth of gum drops or 2000 calories of health-promoting foods that supply the correct balance of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals the body needs for healthy functioning. (Hint: Gumdrops is not the way to go.)

If you want to lose weight, dieting alone will not get you there. You need to add exercise. The reverse is also true.

Exercise on a Daily Basis

It is important to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday.
It is important to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday. | Source

How much exercise do you need?

Exercise aids in weight control not just because it burns calories, but because it revs up the metabolism. Exercise in the morning, and you will burn more calories throughout the day. You need, at a minimum, 30 minutes of vigorous exercise or (60 minutes of moderate exercise) 5 to 7 days per week.

The exercise should cause you to break a sweat and make your heart beat faster. Moderate exercise means that you can talk but not sing. Vigorous exercise means you can’t carry on a conversation, but can talk in short phrases.

If you can’t do the 30 minutes all at once, you can break it up into three 10-minute sessions. Ideally, you want longer sessions because you want to push your body almost to its limits.

If you are ill, very overweight, or older, you should discuss your exercise regime with a medical professional before starting. If you are very overweight, start slowly—just take a walk a few times a day—and gradually add in more intensive exercise and longer exercise sessions. You should do both aerobic (running, jump rope, biking, swimming) and resistance training (weightlifting) for a balanced workout.

It takes a lot of exercise to burn off calories which is why a weight control regimen must include both diet and exercise.

This chart shows the amount of calories burned with various activities in 30 minutes.

Approximate Number of Calories Burned in 30 Minutes

12 munute mile
slow free style laps
1 mile in 10 minutes
10 miles an hour

People who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time illness.

— Edward Stanley

Why should you monitor your weight?

It is easier to lose 5 pounds than 50 pounds. So don’t let a 5-pound weight gain turn into a 50-pound weight gain. If you are at your goal–weight, weigh yourself on a reliable scale at least once a week. Write your weight into a log. If you see that you have gained 5 pounds, decrease calories and increase exercise until you are back at you goal weight.

Find a Way to Add Exercise to Your Day

Dancing is great exercise and it's lots of fun too.
Dancing is great exercise and it's lots of fun too. | Source

How can you work more exercise into your day?

If you can join a gym, swim laps in a pool, or play sports on a regular basis, that is great. If not, there are plenty of ways to work exercise into your day.

  • When parking in a parking lot, park far from the building’s entrance which will mean you get a little extra walking in.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
  • Do household chores vigorously.
  • Mow the lawn with a manual push mower. Use a walking mower instead of a riding mower.
  • Join a mall-walking group or trail-hiking group. (Look on MeetUp to find one near you or get a few friends together and start one.)
  • Find a partner for walks, runs, or bike rides.
  • Take the dog (yours or your neighbor's) for a walk.
  • Take up dancing--ballroom, square, tap, whatever appeals to you.

Keep an exercise log and try to reach a new "personal best” every week. For instance, more miles walked, run, biked, or swum, faster speed, heavier weights, more repetitions, etc.

I prefer to work out at home. I have a stationary recumbent bike with an electronic display that keeps me motivated. I alternate the bike with weight-training using dumbbells. I use my rebounder a couple of times a week. Some people find it more motivating to work-out at a gym or to take classes, like yoga or tai chi. Others enjoy participating in a team sport like basketball or tennis. The activity doesn’t matter just as long as you do something.

Why do you need “intermittent movement”?

Sitting for long periods of time reduces health and longevity even if you are engaging in a regular fitness program. “Intermittent movement” is required. You simply need to stand up every 15 minutes or so. Get up from your chair and stretch. Take a phone call or sort the mail while standing. Just try to get into the habit of getting on your feet every 15 minutes.

Can exercise help if started later in life?

It doesn’t matter when you start to exercise. Even if you have been sedentary all your life, you will benefit from an exercise program. Studies have shown benefits even among people who start exercising in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Exercise is especially important for women after menopause because hormonal changes cause metabolism to slow and muscle mass to decline at this time of life.

Some studies have shown that a habit of regular moderate exercise increases life expectancy by 4 to 5 years.

How to Exercise with Weights

The Tao of Balanced Energy

The Tao of Balanced Energy is a three-part series. The first part is The Tao of Balanced Energy: Nutrition, Exercise, and Spirituality. It introduces the topic and focuses on Nutrition. You have just read part two which focuses on exercise. Part three, The How to Find Spiritual Harmony: The Tao of Balanced Energy focuses on spirituality and relationships.

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments. Please share your thoughts on this topic.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Dream On: Exercise on. I'm glad you liked reading what I wrote about exercise. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      5 years ago

      I love to read about exercise. It is so important for a long and healthy life. Thank you your very informative hub.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      FlourishAnyway: I'm glad you like my hub. Whenever I start to feel that I can skip the exercise, I remember the quote. those who don't have time for exercise will have to make time for sickness. it is wonderful that we can overcome bad genes with exercise.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      In some of the yoga classes that I have reluctantly tried (I am more of a treadmill girl), I was impressed to see women as mature as their 70s. You're never too old or out of shape to start. This was an excellent hub! I've recently become very interested in epigenetics and it seems that exercise has a role in that.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I agree with you CriSp. By exercise I mean any physical activity o movement. It doesn't have to be a "work-out." Vigorous housecleaning can provide exercise. Gardening or walking can provide exercise. However, my research shows it is good if some of your activity is vigorous enough to raise your heart rate, even if just a little.

      Thank you for your praise and good wishes. I wish you a happy new year and good health.

    • CrisSp profile image


      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Very useful and motivational hub!

      I'm not a gym person but I believed you don't have to be in the gym to work out. In my case, I take my walk back and forth the cabin aisle as a good way to exercise and smiling to people is a perfect way to exercise the muscles on my face.

      Then at home, the usual chores which is never ending is done with pleasure.

      Happy New Year! I wish you abundance in health and in wealth.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      He he. Back from Heidleberg and a little tired and hungry. Will go and eat and look at your 'People almost met' series later on. Keep on having fun.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      manatita44: You are absolutely right. Exercise is spiritual in that it can induce an "altered state of consciousness." It can relieve depression or "the blues." It can be as good as meditation. I used to run, but now I have to avoid high-impact exercise due to back problems. My series on balanced-energy is about spirituality--that is why I call it "the TAO of." I hope to write the final hub of the series which will focus on spirituality this week. I'm having so much fun with my "People almost Met" series that I can't decide which to do first.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      Frankly, my Guru, to me one of the outstanding visionaries of the 21st century, puts it right up there with spirituality. It is a part of the practice, so to speak. Especially running. Much love to you, Catherine.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you mantita44. I research exercise because I kept hearing exercise is good for you. But WHY was it good? Beyond weight control. There are so many reasons to exercise. Writing this hub refocused my commitment to exercise. I hope everyone who reads this will feel the same way.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      Catherine, a great plus for exercise and wonderfully done. I liked the idea of how it improves the lymphatic and mitochrondrial systems. Much peace for 2015.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you, Eiddwen for stopping buy and reading. I appreciate your comment.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and thank you for sharing.


    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you. Rakim. I really appreciate your comment and that you took the time to let me know that you found my information about exercise useful. Have a great 2015.

    • Rakim Cheeks profile image

      Rakim Cheeks 

      5 years ago

      I enjoyed your hub. It was well written, and it's going to help me out for 2015. completely excellent

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Your hubs are so consistently good that I'm not sure how to rate which is better than the others. Seriously. But I do know what it feels like to walk away with satisfaction from a piece; I'm glad you feel that way about this one. I can certainly see why. And yes, I thought about cancer when I read what you wrote about the lymphatic system. It makes perfect sense.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you Heidi. I'm glad you liked my information on the benefits of exercise.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      5 years ago from Chicago Area

      Good tips for the New Year! Voted up and useful!

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Good for you Iris. I think the lymphatic system is the main reason that exercise has so many health benefits especially in the prevention of cancer. I think this one of my best hubs. I'm glad you like it.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Excellent article as usual. I didn't realize that the lymphatic system didn't circulate on its own. That's very interesting! I'm going snowshoeing again in the morning so I'll be ticking all those boxes.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)