The purpose of physical exercise is not just to prove to ourselves that we are able to defy the aging process, look good, or prevent a heart attack. Exercise also enhances our capacity to digest food and eliminate physical and emotional impurities. Furthermore, it increases firmness and suppleness, as well as our ability to deal with stressful situations. The lymphatic system, especially, which drains toxic and noxious substances from the connective tissues of the organs and muscles, depends on the daily movement of all the parts of the body.
Unlike the blood, which has a heart to circulate it around the body, the lymph fluid has no such direct pumping device to do the same. The lymphatic system heavily relies on the breathing mechanism and how well we use it. When the muscle responsible for the breathing action of the lungs (diaphragm) extends into the abdomen, it exerts great pressure on the intestinal lymph vessels, thereby squeezing their contents. This forces the lymph to move through the lymph ducts, such as the thoracic duct. Thus, each inhalation and exhalation acts as an indirect pump for the lymphatic system. Shallow breathing that results from a sedentary lifestyle (and intestinal congestion) has a detrimental effect on proper lymph drainage. Exercise can greatly improve lymphatic functions and thereby prevent a multitude of diseases.
Physical exercise is a great immune-stimulant if done in moderation, and it also improves neuromuscular integration in all age groups. Its effect of boosting self-confidence and self-esteem stems, to some extent, from the improved oxygen supply to the cells and the resulting well-being in all parts of the body and mind. Exercise is an excellent means of increasing happiness in life, especially if it involves challenges that require creativity.
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