general health

Being more active improves your ability to prevent damage and recover

merry go round

The overwhelming feeling I get when reviewing all I’ve learned about the benefits of exercise is that the most important benefit you get is the ability to recover from any risk you take or damage or injury you incur.

Take this tweet

FFA transporters move to the plasma membrane during endurance exercise to bring more fat into the muscle. Our muscles are smart #GSSIXP

I need to find the actual source for this insight, unfortunately Kimberley didn’t cite an article because she was tweeting from a conference. That aside it’s becoming increasingly clear that all fuels that humans use for energy are dangerous when not controlled properly. Not surprising when you consider that all fuels we use outside the body like wood, oil and gas are also dangerous when not used and stored properly.

It turns out that fat, sugar and protein are all dangerous if not properly controlled. So too are other chemicals used by the body. Salt being an obvious example because one researcher, marc peletier specifically attributes salt regulation to heart disease.

So the good news is that exercise is natures way of regulating all these dangerous chemicals. The bad news is that not all the research is conclusive yet so let me give you a quick run down of what I have found.

  • Sugar: AKA Carbohydrate: Your exercise performance depends greatly on your ability to use sugar so exercise improves your ability to control and use it. Exercise targets the Glucose transporters specifically type 4 which are regulated by insulin which ensures the body can regulate sugar properly
  • Fat: Fat is of course the fuel you want to use the most of yet most people don’t know that your ability to burn fat depends on your ability to mobilise it but also your ability to use carbohyrdate. The saying goes that “You can only burn fat in a carbohydrate  flame” so of course exercise improves sugar and fat mobilisation and use. Insulin also controls fat release but the mechanism is yet to be fully understood. New evidence is coming to light but whether that includes insulin response we will find out.
  • Protein: Protein is half sugar and half amine. The amine part is toxic in large quantities so just like sugar it needs tight regulation. Exercise requires protein partly for fuel but mainly for building and repair work. What exercise does is push the body to become more able to handle the forces applied to it. Therefore it becomes less likely to break under strain. At the same time it creates a strong need to use protein and thus the systems to regulate protein become efficient and tightly regulated.
  • Salt: Salt and salts are actually crucial to the body because they have very useful chemical properties. Two very important functions are to help draw water in and out of the body as required making it easier to regulate water and keep the whole body healthy. The other is to supply the calcium and sodium required by nerves in saltatory conduction. Your entire nervous system including your brain, spine and motor circuits require specific amounts of calcium to repeatedly send message around the body
  • Water: The biggest improvement your body makes when you exercise is in water regulation. This is because every system in the body works better when water is controlled properly. Plenty of studies show that carbohydrate and fat don’t get digested or used properly if the water around them is not correct which is the basis of the sports drinks industry. Exercise puts the greatest strain possible on the bodies ability to supply, transport and regulate water and so it is no surprise that exercise forces the body to keep the required systems up to date.

As you can see from this analysis exercise puts a great and regular demand on all the body as a whole. This act itself forces the body to bring itself up to standard and reminds the body how it is supposed to work and that it must prepare for challenges. The challenge of exercise no longer exists in modern sedentary life and we haven’t yet evolved to handle this. So without the regular challenge of movement the body and its systems fall into disrepair. This is the reason that obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases of western life are all being recognised as the result of the body not working as it normally would and that those who are regularly active suffer much less from these diseases if they suffer at all.

Coming from this angle you see from my list that several keys aspects of the body are kept functioning by activity. From the ability to use fuel to the ability to supply water. At the same time the improvements made to bodily systems to make this happen reduce the damage caused when these systems are not maintained.

Related articles

Purging cells in mice is found to combat aging ills  senescent cells hasten aging in the tissues in which they accumulate. Exercise and calorie restriction are two important ways to encourage this purging process. Exercise though is much more important in preparing the body to do the process well. Calorie restriction can trigger the process but it has an arbitrary focus, as likely to purge heart muscle cells and faulty ones. Exercise forces the body to be more practical and calculating. Building up the resources and workflow to purge effectively rather than randomly. Directing the efforts of calorie restriction in a more organised and beneficial way.

The mathematics of weight loss: Ruben Meerman at TEDxQUT really well presented explanation of the basics of weight loss. You lose weight by eating less and moving more and breathing. He cuts right through many of the myths and explains specifically what happens. Doesn’t cover the challenges of doing this. Just focuses on the specific reliable equations that you should actually care about. I would like to see if it helps people understand the process itself more and believe in it.

The underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease Muscle isn’t susceptible to cancer. We don’t yet know why but we’re learning. Muscles affect us more than we know encouraging the transfer of sugar around our body and reducing insulin resistance and diabetes.

The Role of Water Homeostasis in Muscle Function and Frailty explores the relationship with recovers of water in cells and surrounding tissues and frailty through loss of muscle function. It is a complex and very important topic related to ageing. It highlights that as we age we require more self care not less to help our bodies retain the recovery abilities that we take for advantage when we are younger.

These are the things I already know and this talk by Jamie Scott adds even more to why being strong can give you a happy future

Are home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids?

I saw the article Home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids and just had to share and keep it.

It is just one study but it’s an important consideration. The impact of school on socialisation and health. The study makes clear these results came before the latest health standards were implemented at school but also makes clear the dependence you have on the school system when you’re kids are there.

It’s also important to remember that we haven’t heard the whole story

  • What’s the range and regularity? These are averages 
  • How much leaner? I didn’t see any numbers. 
  • What was classed as traditional
I’m not ripping apart the study. Just something I think of regularly in any study. Every report you get is biased but the bias is always slightly different. You will never get the full story so it’s work thinking a little deeper. 
An interesting question though. 

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Business

This is the point that I start talking about the Sell Your Soul aspect that Cell Your Sole is also about. Yes the pun really is intended. The point here is that you must always understand who you are and what makes you and your life work. This site is all about learning, particularly about yourself.

Taking time for yourself and the time to learn about what you want and what makes you happy is important. The pressures of life distract us all the time but personal well being comes from knowing your own needs and feeding them. Which means not selling your soul. Not selling your opportunity for fun and happiness.

It’s much better to learn how to meet your needs without giving the chance for fun. Even better to learn how to make fun achieve your goals as well. That’s the point of food and exercise. Not as chores but as opportunities to play.

The same goes for me time. It’s not selfish. Think about it. The better you take care of yourself the better you can take care of others.

Check out Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Business and let me know what you think. This applies to all of us whether we’re high flying CEOs or parents or whatever. You’ll do a better job if you take better care of yourself.

Get fit to make the most of every minute

The point of cell your sole is to make you fit enough to chase what makes you happy. It’s also about the reverse. Chasing what you love and finding the activity in it. Let the activity itself make you strong.

Chores have value

You may not love shopping but you might love good food or entertaining others. You do what you can on the web to save time but going out to the shops, walking around and browsing also makes you healthy. So all you have to do is make it fun, even realising that chores like this are good for you and get you where you want to be can motivate you to do them. The point is you’re not adding chores to your life. You’re just using what’s there to maximise your health and your fun.

Find activity in things you love

Even better is when you start to find the activity and movement in the stuff you love. I love tennis. Obviously to play it is being active but watching it can be too. I happily sat in the wimbledon queue waiting for the chance to watch some tennis. It’s more effort than it sounds. I had to

  • get to London
  • then get across to Wimbledon. That’s a ton of walking to and from stations.
  • Then from Wimbledon station to the ground,
  • then all the way to the back of the queue. It’s a suprisingly long way before you even start actually queueing.
  • Queue to get in
  • Then once you get in the grounds the walking doesn’t really stop.

So, most of the time you are either walking or standing. That’s a lot of effort but I’d do it again because it is part of something I love. So I play tennis so I can enjoy more days like these. The rigours of playing prepare me well for the rigours of watching and other trips. In fact I never miss a day of work because I’m lucky enough to be able to play Tennis at work. It doesn’t matter if it’s Snow, sleet or whatever I still like to play. I’m not the only one.

The point is about what you enjoy this much. is it dancing, cooking, gardening, acting, singing. We all have our passions and all passions have activity and movement.

Get fit for days out

It’s the same story for loads of common life events and like visiting theme parks, Gigs, sports events. The great thing is that when you think about it this way you realise that much of the live fun stuff involves a lot of movement. Of course that sounds tiring but it’s also generally the most fun you will have for a while. So my best form of weight loss and health motivation is to book a cool event to go to, for me its tennis, for others and football match or maybe the good food show. Then get in training for all the moving, carrying and general activity you’re going to do.

You see. You might not consider yourself or your life very active and you might consider most of your fun to be sedentary. Given the list I just gave do you still feel that is true. Or atleast are these ideas of fun that you actually look forward to and would like to do more of?

I’m just pointing out that fitter people find these things easier than those who aren’t fit and that getting fit just means doing these things or things like them. It doesn’t mean running around. Shopping, playing with your kids, taking the dog for a walk. They’re all things we all do that can help towards a big or a small day of fun.

I’ll leave you with another example. My wife, not the fitness fanatic that I am, loves singing and music in general. She recently saw her favourite band Muse live and absolutely loved it. She gets tingles each time she remembers the experience. The one regret she has is staying seated the whole time. She just wanted to get up and dance, or even just stand. She has never wanted to do that in her life but this time she just felt it would make the whole thing even better. Even for the 3 hours of the gig. That really surprised me. I know it can really make a different it just wasn’t something I would expect her to say. So next time she sees them live she wants to be able to stand. All she needs to do is stand more throughout the day and it’ll be a breeze. It’s that simple but our lives and jobs get in the way.

So the question is. How can we add that little bit more standing, walking and moving into our days so that we can get more out of our time off and essentially smile more?

What do you do to be that bit more active. Walk a different way to work, park a little further or visit a fun trip and just see where that takes you. Let me know in the comments below.

Hormesis, disease resistance, aging and activity

There is growing evidence that our own immune systems are key to many of the common illnesses of western society. They’re even implicated in the aging process itself. An overactive immune system is starting to be considered a problem in itself and thus finding the right balance is becoming key.

When working at a gym I found the healthiest people generally to be the most active. I also uncovered research showing that when we don’t overeat our bodies burn faulty cells for fuel. The evidence needs to be checked but it does suggest a fascinating way to stay healthy. The message being 

Be active and don’t eat too much. infact, every so often fast a little. Encourage your body to consume the faulty cells so they don’t cause harm in your body.

Hormesis seems to be an underlying principle of life. A key reason behind the need for balance. Too little or too much of anything being bad. Just the right amount is needed and the right amount can change as circumstances and conditions change.

Health advertising: Why does it treat us like idiots?

Watching the BBC programme the men who made us fat reminds me how the food, and health and fitness industries are all conflicted between making a profit and making us healthy. So nothing improves because everything gets confused with misinformation due to the competition going on. Companies can’t focus on making us healthy because making a profit must come first in such a highly competitive market.

Most that focus on health first have fallen by the wayside over the years. They just haven’t figured out how to make it profitable yet. So I think we need to explore why industry should care about our health. Until then we’ll get substandard products.

My answer is that we need to know more about ourselves. Become better consumers and invest in ourselves. We need to accept that good food, healthy lifestyles cost. We need to value our health enough to invest in it but we also need to understand as consumers why paying more for food is profitable for us. We need to value the quality that higher prices delivers. Until then we can’t blame an industry for chasing price over quality because that is where the profit is. We crave scale and we aren’t doing enough to change the balance.

We need to avoid false economies. Cheaper food at the checkout doesn’t necessarily save us money or add to our lives. Cheap food can leave us tired, bored (no flavour), or prone to over eating. It’s not to say that expensive food is better but to change our own mindset of valuing cost and quantity over taste, texture and quality. The experience of eating and the inherent value of good health.

When we vote with our wallets we don’t ask to be educated, to be shown exactly what something is doing for us. We generally just do what we’re told. We don’t know enough about how we work both as machines and as humans to make good choices and send the right message to the industry.

All of this requires knowledge and education. We just need to know much more about ourselves and how we fit the lives we lead and vice versa.

A rant I know but this  is what I see. Plain facts that are well established are often laughed at by people I come across because they know so little about their own genetics yet these same people are fully informed about general life politics, cars and sports. So it is not intellect thats the problem. Generally people would rather know a lot about everything other than themselves and the people they love. They know a lot about the superficial stuff but little about we actually work as humans.

Ask a motoring fan about his favourite car. He will tell you all sorts, twin cam, double over head compressor, turbo injection. Ask him why he likes it and he knows all about the physics that went into building the car. Ask a fashion fan about their favourite clothes and they will tell you all sorts. Which clothes go with what, how they accentuate this or that. They will really know their stuff.

Ask people about their bodies. Basics like why running at the same time as eating might be a bad idea or how sugar is converted to fat and you will get a blank face. Maybe the human body just isn’t that interesting. Or maybe it is most interesting to those who know how it works.

Until we stop being so naive about how we work as humans then the industry will continue to treat us like idiots. There isn’t much sense behind the decisions we make so there is no profit in using good logic to market foods. Sensationalism sells so sensationalism wins.

Study finds People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young

So, a new study suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young

I’m sharing this both for balance. It’s important to consider all sides of any debate. Also I want to have some fun. Claims like this are a dime a dozen aren’t they but so many are just hype. The general scientific response is always that 

“more research is needed”

That may be the case but why? So I thought I would ask you dear readers. Do you think this study is worth paying attention to or not and most importantly why?

This isn’t about bashing findings that go against the norm. I am critical of everything I read and I expect you are too. So I am interested in how you guys perceive this kind of research and reporting.

How activity and exercise improves your health

Child running around a wet play area

For years we have been told that exercise is good for us. Now the evidence is becoming indisputable.  Being inactive is as bad as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. It could even be more serious than that.

Over the years I’ve found so much information I didn’t know what to do with it. I mainly shared it through my original blog or kept it private hoping to share it when I found the right approach. For many of these articles I’ve now been waiting years which just isn’t helping anyone.

I recently realised my blogs are the perfect medium on which to share because I’m most interested in the discussions and debate around this topic. I don’t feel I have the answers, I share because I’m interested in learning and using what I learn to help me on my journey through life.

I have now started to organise all I have found and it’s re invigorating my dreams because the message really is about living your life. The act of living itself is what we must do. Moving is living. Activity to me isn’t just physical it is mental and emotional. Thinking about things makes your brain active, experiencing emotions involves both your brain and your body.

For now most information will be about physical activity because that is what is most available. Though I am looking for and finding interesting articles in all three areas. Over time this and all the other posts will grow as I continue this life journey.


For now I’m creating a series of articles covering the various topics related to activity and health. So far I have published:

Key articles

Activity is so useful throughout life that I’ve also compiled a list of the main articles worth reading to build your general knowledge.

Useful Reading

Here is more useful information

Problems of inflammation

Inflammation is quickly becoming linked with just about every major disease and for good reason because it is the bodies natural response to injury and disease making the inflammation mechanism the bodies rapid response unit.

Inflammation is the bodies equivalent of the army, police, health and fire services rolled into one.

Once you realise that the bodies most natural response to infection is to either engulf the invader and destroy it or attach to it to warn others of the danger until help arrives you start to see the correlation with our emergency services. Similar is true of injuries, the specialist rebuilding cells within the body are attracted to the injury site and in conjunction with the blood itself and the lymph system start blocking off areas, shutting down leaking systems, taking away the waste and creating scaffolding so that rebuilding work can begin. This is also the kind of process the emergency services start and rebuilding services continue. To everyone else though it looks like a mess until everything is cleaned up and life can get back to normal.

The similarities do not end there, instead they go right through the process of recovery. The point though is that inflammation is not something to be avoided per se. As in, it’s not the problem, rather you always need to understand what causes the inflammation in the first place.

So far our medical response has been to dull pain and reduce inflammation. That’s fine but that’s the equivalent of fin turning off your fire alarm and opening the windows to let in some fresh air when there is a fire slowly smouldering in your house. Putting the fire out is the proper answer.

So now is the time I start to put the list together of what happens when inflammation isn’t controlled. This list is likely to get very long. When it does I can start to organise it into sub posts. For now it becomes somewhere I use to organise the topic because inflammation, the causes of and its resolution is rapidly becoming the biggest prize and challenge.

If you’ve been following me you will know that I believe I will eventually show you how being more active is one of the simplest and best ways to prevent inflammation. Building this list will help me do just that. For now. Let’s just see where this leads us. Maybe it’s not activity. Doesn’t matter, where the evidence leads is most important.

Osteoarthritis a Result of Inflammation as Well as Wear and Tea preventing osteoarthritis among other wear and tear issues is why I prefer to learn from my injuries to fix them and prevent future recurrence

Medical Xpress: How “good cholesterol” stops inflammation //  thanks @everydaymornin via
The depression-inflammation connection is a growing consideration in health. Emphasising the impact our immune response can have on health and disease.

Inflammation from uncontrolled sugar levels leads to the damage in diabetes and heart disease

Inflammation could be controlled via the vagus nerve Vagal Tone refers to the ability to control your vagus nerve which in turn seems to control your ability to relax. The stronger your vagal tone the better you are at relaxing. This is a potential goldmine of information for simple fixes to problems of inflammation