The Doctor and the Professor—Prescriptions for Ultimate Health and Life-Long Wellness: Part 2–Morning Workouts

By: Dr. Michael Sabia and Mark A. Tambone

Evolutionary psychologists explain our ever-changing world by addressing our needs, wants, and compulsions from an evolutionary lens. What does that mean? Think back to the time when early humans roamed the vast plains of the Savannah. Stick in hand, defending their small clan so all would survive another season or saber-toothed tiger attack. The actions and survival mechanisms we developed and enacted then, and according to the evolutionary psychologists, still impacts how we behave today. Our early kinsmen gifted us an ancestral programming—breed into us from their basic survival needs in unrelenting environments. They hunted, they gathered, and they protected one another, but one key factor to remember—they were always on the move.

Work out in the AM, light weights, and calisthenics gets the blood flowing and improves your mood and outlook on the day

What we choose to do at the start of the day will significantly impact how we deal with unexpected circumstances that occur later that morning, afternoon, and evening. If you want to live long well ‘you have to exercise’ would be a general statement most healthcare providers agree with. What kind of exercise and when is very individualized. The ‘what and when’ is a recurrent theme here. It’s hard to go for a run if you’re an amputee (even if you have the right fitting prosthesis).  It is super challenging to bench press if you have shoulder pain or tendonitis. There’s no one size fits all here. We believe and advocate for a light weight training routine that is done in the morning. Maintaining muscle mass is essential for our bodies to function. If we don’t train our muscles with light weights they will weaken which creates an imbalance in everything we do: how we walk, carry things, sleep, move, etc. These adaptive behaviors cascade in to a series of other problems that ultimately usually lead to physical pain.

Training your entire body with light weights is an amazing way to circulate your blood, get a cardiovascular workout (which really means have your heart fill with blood and pump it out to the rest of your body and keep your blood vessels flexible), rid your body of toxins, and make you look and feel fantastic. There’s plenty of research to support the brain boosting mood you’ll achieve from even a 10 or 15 minute workout. Exercise is a sure way to release ones feel good neurotransmitters (Dopamine, Serotonin, etc.). So the next time you’re considering reaching for a pain pill or antidepressant, try a dumbbell instead. Your body and self-confidence will thank you.

Dr. Sabia is division head of Pain Management in the Department of Anesthesiology at Cooper University Health Care and associate professor of Anesthesiology at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University; Mark A. Tambone, MFA, is assistant professor of English at Passaic County Community College. 


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