The Benefits of Exercise
by Dr. Kevin Pett
Dr. K here today to talk to you about some of the wonderful benefits of exercise. The human body was designed to perform a host of physical tasks on a daily basis. When we exercise the body regularly, the following major benefits are recognized.
- Mental acuity is improved
- Bone health and density are strengthened
- Cardiovascular function is improved
- Detoxification of the body occurs
- Tendons and ligaments are strengthened
- Stress is released
- Energy levels are increased
- Sleep is improved
Regular exercise is a key to good health and a longer life. The principal goal is to make exercise a part of your daily/weekly activities. Make time for it, and you will enjoy many positive benefits. It is important to rotate or combine activities on alternate days that involve cardio, strength, and stretching for example like:
- Running, cycling, swimming
- Weight training / resistance training
- Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi
This exercise rotation can keep the body functioning optimally. The key here is regular exercise, like for example: 2 to 3 days of Cardio based exercise (running) combined with 2 days of stretching and toning (Yoga). One day a week of something is just not enough. Try for a minimum of combined exercise forms, for 3 to 4 days a week, in order to achieve optimal results.
Enjoy the benefits of exercise! Better health and a longer life!
Be your best you!
Dr. Kevin R. Pett is licensed as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) in the state of New Mexico. He holds a doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, the first accredited DAOM Doctoral program in the U.S.
Achieving Your Peak, the Navy SEAL Way
If I want peak performance, I think about the Triad of Wellness: nutrition, exercise, and sleep. You can find this at www.getmissionready.com. If you eat the right foods, your brain will function properly and then everything else in your body will work optimally. You should maintain your fitness with exercise, and always have a good night’s rest to wake up refreshed. To me, those are the three main areas of focus.
However, with the way we live our lives in this fast-paced society, you can’t always work at your own pace or follow an exact plan. World events, the weather, and information are constantly changing. For example, in the 1980s when I was a U.S. Navy SEAL in a “training pace,” so-to-speak, and we got called for a mission on 24 hours notice and deployed for many months. That meant we weren’t getting much if any sleep that night and many more to follow. Instead, we were preparing to deploy overseas. And the few hours we did try to sleep, our minds were still racing with thoughts of planning and coordination—considering every contingency we could think of.
A lot of the time, when SEALs go on missions, whether they are training or real, they have been up for a very long period of time. It’s not a football or baseball game with a set number of hours or a marathon or triathlon where you know the distance. All our missions were fraught with danger— we lost men in peacetime training, honing skills for war. Unlike the sports you see on television, our “game” can last for days, and instead of tearing an ACL or bruising muscles or breaking bones (which we do routinely), some of our SEALs are severely wounded or killed in action. In sports, the players get a pre-game night’s rest and a hearty meal. In the SEAL business, you just might go to “the game” with no sleep and eating field rations along the way. At the end of “the game” you don’t get interviewed on radio and television along with a victory celebration, but instead you can get orders for a follow-on mission. It happens.
As a former Commanding Officer of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO, our team participated in the most mentally and physically challenging and complex missions in special operations. We operated SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV) using submarines as a host platform. Any time you’re working with submarines, you at the least double the complexity of the mission set, not to mention that the maritime environment is the most difficult to master.
SDV and submarine missions are very long. SDVs are wet submersibles, which mean the SEALs operating them are actually in a dive status breathing SCUBA. Despite wet and dry suits providing thermal protection, it can get really cold. Piloting and navigating the SDV is also a mental exercise because you’re potentially driving for six hours or more. For a pilot flying a plane, he usually has a visible horizon and can look out the windows and see the land or ocean below and at night see the starts. In an SDV, you’re underwater, on dive status, driving a relatively slow moving vehicle with absolutely no horizon, with nothing but instruments in front of you.
And that is what Navy SEAL trains to do. In our basic training you learn how to mentally push through all forms of adversity. We accepted difficult challenges on a routine basis as the norm and that included lack of sleep. We performed optimally in all our mission sets because we were in great physical shape and our training gave us a mindset and discipline to power through the most difficult of circumstances. Most of us ate really well and a lot too. The disrupter at home was the fact that, even when we were not deployed on a training exercise or in a combat zone, two or three times a week you’re still working nights planning, coordinating, and executing training missions with the discipline and diligence you would in war. You train the way you will fight. So, you go back and forth between working days and nights, and you do this throughout a career. Meanwhile, your body is always trying to catch up on sleep.
When I was first in this business in the early 70s and 80s, we didn’t have a lot of administrative, technical, and combat service support, so we had to do everything. We had less sleep. Now, SEAL teams have a lot of support troops and technicians that help them do things that we used to do on our own. The SEAL operators of today are able to get some more sleep than we did, which is the better for them.
I was trained to do all parts of the “peak performance triad” over the years: be in the best shape you can be—i.e., have good strength and endurance, eat well, and get good quality sleep when I could get it. I would always try to do this to my best ability. There are other components to peak performance like training, discipline, and mental focus. We’ll talk about them in a future blog. But for now, if you focus on the triad, you’ll be able to achieve peak performance, too.