Which Exercise Bear Is ‘Just Right’…Papa Bear, Mama Bear, or Baby Bear?

Which exercise bear is ‘just right’…Papa Bear, Mama Bear, or Baby Bear? We all know the story of Goldilocks and want to get this just right. Do you know that how much exercise you do is important to your physical health and immune function? Well, let’s do the test of each, just like Goldilocks did. Consider what current research shows because the practice of physical exercise is a primary clinical tool for the prevention of many diseases linked to chronic inflammation and immune function so how you exercise can affect you.[i]

If Papa Bear represents consistent strenuous exercise, well this is too big! For sure, exercise is important, but over-exercising can result in a whole host of issues. Here are the consequences of strenuous, acute over-exercise, or extreme sports:

  • Increased inflammation
  • Decreased immune function
  • Decreased risk of chronic disease

So, let’s take a look at the opposite. You guessed it, Baby Bear. If we think about Baby Bear as not able to move much and being inactive most of the time, this too is not good. Sedentary and inactive lifestyles can greatly increase the risk of chronic inflammation, chronic disease, and metabolic syndrome.

  • Promotes inflammation
  • Increases risk of infection
  • Increases risk of chronic disease

Now, Mama Bear…here’s a looker. Mama knows best. While light to moderate exercise is good, consistent, moderate exercise best promotes health. Here are Mama Bear’s important stats:

  • Increased immune function
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Decreased risk of chronic disease
Goldilocks did not pick the right amount of exercise.

So if you are doing your own Goldilocks test, check-in with yourself about how you feel based on your current exercise level. To get it just right, you need an increased immune function, decreased inflammation, and decreased risk of chronic disease. Based on that, do you need to increase, decrease, or remain consistent with your current level of exercise? Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you sit most of the day?
  • Do you get the recommended amount of exercise?
  • Do you over-exert yourself with strenuous exercise and experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, joint or muscle pain?
  • Are you chronically fatigued and lacking energy?
  • Do you get sick often?
  • Do you have chronic disease?
  • Or, do you feel just right?

While in the tale of The Three Bears, Goldilocks picked Baby Bear as just right, she was just down for some comfort and rest. Besides, she didn’t have her Mama there with her. Mama follows exercise recommendations from the World Health Organization. Mama Bear can teach us all a good lesson in the right amount of exercise balanced with the right amount of sleep and rest to keep healthy.

[i] Scheffer DDL, Latini A. Exercise-induced immune system response: Anti-inflammatory status on peripheral and central organs. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020;1866(10):165823. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165823

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