Exercise and Nutrition are Crucial
I have worked for most of my life as a community pharmacist, as well as being an Olympic medal winning marathon runner and the author of From Last to First. During my years in the health service, I witnessed the terrible rise in life-style diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Whilst medication for people suffering from these conditions may be essential, I decided that my time is better spent campaigning for healthier life-styles that will reduce the occurrence of these diseases.
Life-style diseases are abnormalities caused by living an abnormal life over a period of time. People who live a normal life hardly ever get these diseases. A normal life for human beings consists of daily exercise, regular sleep and a diet of natural food. A sedentary life, combined with lots of highly processed food, is abnormal for humans and it makes the body become abnormal. For most people, it is that simple. The benefits of regular exercise are far greater than most people realise. We evolved to be very mobile hunter gatherers and many of our regulatory systems evolved at the same time (read more here). Humans are one of the most efficient long distance travellers on the planet which is why it is extremely difficult to lose weight through exercise. People who think that exercise is just for losing some weight are completely wrong.
Scientific research has proved that physical exercise produces chemicals which improve the function of the brain, especially memory. Studies from all over the world have shown that physically fit children are academically superior to unfit children. Because of this research, I am working on an exercise programme for Primary Schools called Activity Breaks.
These are a series of energetic and fun activities which take place in the classroom and last between three and five minutes. They are a mixture of exercises, games and songs which can be used four or five times a day during lessons. They improve brain function, general behaviour and attention span and they are enjoyed by all of the children. For more information on Activity Breaks click here
Benefits of moderate exercise on the brain: (Click on the links to read the research)
A study of 1,000 primary school children showed benefits of exercise
"Fit kids finish first in the classroom."
Short bouts of exercise boost self-control
One of the reasons I left my Pharmacy career was because I noticed that people with chronic, metabolic diseases never got better. They were treated with medication that was designed to help their symptoms but it usually did nothing to reverse the disease. Why were so many people unwell? Why were so many people overweight? Why were so many people developing the awful disease of type 2 diabetes? It seemed obvious to me that people were obese because they ate too much but why did they keep eating when they were so big and unhealthy?
I have always eaten real food and tried to avoid junk food but when I started to research diet and nutrition I was shocked by what I found, although I should not have been with my knowledge of biochemistry. The reason we have an obesity epidemic is because the official advice we have been given about a "healthy" diet for the last forty years is wrong! When you realise why it is wrong everything else falls into place.
The NHS and registered dieticians tell us that we should eat a diet based on lots of carbohydrates and very little fat. We were told that saturated fat gives us heart disease and makes us fat. Scientists now know for certain that neither of these is true. It is too much carbohydrate that makes us fat. The High Carbohydrate Low Fat diet is not what we evolved to eat and we will all be much more healthy if we switch to a Low Carbohydrate High Fat diet.
I believe this so profoundly that I have started a campaign to help people lose weight and improve their health. It is called
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