Can you believe it? Another year has come and gone! We are now embarking on 2022. What happens every New Year? People make New Year's resolutions. What was your resolution this year? Well, I know that I want to get healthier and more fit in 2022. I just recently celebrated another birthday and I want to keep my body in tip top shape. So I have a goal to exercise more in this new year.
A dear friend of mine read the following article and passed it to me. Finding it too good not to share, I'm re-posting it here. It was originally published on 3abnkindling.org. Here's to a better, healthier year in 2022!
Getting Back on Track
by Risë’s Pieces | Jan 3, 2022 |
Approximately 74% of adult Americans make New Year’s resolutions. That is pretty impressive. According to one web site, of the New Year’s resolvers, 75% are still successful in keeping their resolution 1 week later. “After two weeks, the number drops to 71%. After 1 month, the number drops again to 64%. And after 6 months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it.”1 By the year’s end the number drops drastically. But when you look at the positive, that is over 110 million American adults who are still working their resolutions in June! And the next New Year’s is only 6 months away.
I was pleased to learn that the most common resolutions are focused on improving one’s health. A 2019 survey found that exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight were at the top of the list. A hearty thumbs up goes to all three goals, but I’d like to especially encourage increasing physical activity today.
“Over one-third of the global population aged 15 years and older engages in insufficient physical activities, . . . and it is known to contribute to the death of approximately 3.2 million people every year.”2 This lack of exercise has been referred to as the new smoking and the biggest public health problem of our time. Our lack of get-up-and-go is associated with increase of death, increase of obesity, increase of disease, increase of anxiety, etc. But since I prioritize all things gut, that is where we will begin.
University of Illinois scientists studied 32 sedentary men and women. Half were obese and half were normal weight. These 32 adults were placed on a supervised exercise program in which they experienced incremental increase of time and intensity from walking to vigorous jogging or cycling 3 times a week building up to hour–long exercise sessions. No change was made to the diet. Blood and stool samples were collected prior to the study, after six weeks of exercise, and again six weeks later, after they resumed being sedentary. The researchers observed something very fascinating. Changes occurred in the community of gut microbes, commonly referred to as the GI microbiota or microbiome. An increase in some bacteria along with a decline in others was observed in response to exercise. Not only did microbial population shifts occur, but changes in genetic expression of the microbes were observed, as well, turning up the volume of some microbial genes while silencing others. Beneficial microbes increased along with their by-products, short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids play numerous beneficial roles in promoting human flourishing such as reducing inflammation and fighting insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. “Most of the volunteers had larger concentrations of these short-chain fatty acids in their intestines after exercise, along with the microbes that produce them.”3 Those beneficial changes reverted back, however, when the volunteers stopped exercising.
Physical exercise influences the composition of the intestinal microbiome. I want you to understand just how significant that statement is. For example, exercise is not just good for your heart because it strengthens cardiac muscle and oxygen capacity, but also because it promotes a healthier community of microbes in the gut. And this healthier gut microbiota, in turn, lowers cholesterol and reduces production of TMAO in the gut, which is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.4, 5 Exercise improves leaky gut, which reduces inflammation in the bowel and body. There are just so many reasons why exercising more is an excellent resolution for the new year.
New Year’s gives us an opportunity to get back on track. The resolutions we make define and give expression to our goals and strategies. I would suggest the more specific they are, the better. To be resolute is a good thing. But unless we remember our humanity, we will trust in ourselves and become discouraged when our strongest resolutions become ropes of sand. Thank God we have not been left to do this life in our own strength. With His resolution and power in your life, you will be able to exclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
2022! Happy New Year!
Park, J. H., Moon, J. H., Kim, H. J., Kong, M. H., & Oh, Y. H. (2020). “Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks.” Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 41(6), 365–373.
Allen, J. M., Mailing, L. J., Niemiro, G. M., Moore, R., Cook, M. D., White, B. A., Holscher, H. D., & Woods, J. A. (2018). “Exercise Alters Gut Microbiota Composition and Function in Lean and Obese Humans.” Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, 50(4), 747–757.
Vourakis, M., Mayer, G., & Rousseau, G. (2021). “The Role of Gut Microbiota on Cholesterol Metabolism in Atherosclerosis.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(15), 8074.
Steele, C., Baugh, M., Griffin, L., et al. (2021). “Fasting and postprandial trimethylamine N-oxide in sedentary and endurance-trained males following a short-term high-fat diet.” Physiological Reports, 9(16).
***These are beneficial health suggestions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This is not a substitute for speaking with your health professional.