By Gabe Sanders, Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
Have you ever come across the term oxidative stress and wondered what it means to your health?
Oxidative stress is an imbalance in your body between antioxidants and free radicals which can lead to infections and inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is defined as some type of swelling in the body and is often associated with oxidative stress. By design, inflammation is a protective reaction to help your body heal from injury or diseases. However, there are diseases and instances when the body produces an inflammatory response for no reason and this response can lead to tissue breakdown or health complications.
For instance, both oxidative stress and inflammation can adversely affect your cardiovascular system and heart, especially if it remained unchecked and untreated.
Oxidative stress, inflammation, and heart attacks
The negative result of oxidative stress and inflammation in vascular dysfunction which can lead to cardiovascular disease or even heart attacks. Vascular dysfunction occurs when your blood vessels do not work properly and become too rigid.
Normally, blood vessels expand and contract in response to changes in body fluids, stress, exercise, and many other normal daily activities and body functions.
As we age, oxidative stress can take hold which can expedite the process of rigidity in your blood vessels. Nevertheless, exercise and good nutrition can drastically help reduce the negative effects of oxidative stress and inflammation.
Exercise and healthy foods reduce inflammation
To reduce the negative impact of oxidative stress, research has found that daily, vigorous aerobic exercise will reduce oxidative stress levels and reduce inflammation in middle-aged men and women to a much greater extent than not exercising.
In addition to exercise, a low calorie, balanced diet can produce several benefits for any person. While low-calorie diets help prevent weight gain, consuming healthy foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates and unhealthy saturated fats can reduce inflammation.
Processed, fatty foods really do increase inflammation and make you feel and look puffy! Not only do they alter your physical puffiness, this too is occurring on the inside of your body.
Therefore, the key to reducing inflammation is to eat a balanced diet, full of natural foods and lean proteins and to engage in regular, vigorous exercise.
Always check with your physician before engaging in a vigorous-intensity exercise program, but once you have been cleared by your physician, start training and ignite your health!
Seals, Douglas R., Erzsebet E. Nagy, and Kerrie L. Moreau. “Aerobic exercise training and vascular function with aging in healthy men and women.” The Journal of physiology (2019).
For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
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