In my five year Rich Habits Study, aerobic exercise kept showing up on the rich person side of the ledger. In fact, 76% of the wealthy in my study said that they exercised aerobically 30 minutes a day, four days a week.
On the non-rich side of the ledger, only 23% did this.
To be honest, I was confused. I was raised to hate the wealthy and one of the “truths” I was spoon fed as a child was that the rich were fat, overweight, smoked cigars, drank in excess and did not exercise, except if you considered golf exercise.
My Rich Habits Study destroyed almost all of the “truths” about the rich, many poor people, wrapped around themselves like a sacred blanket.
The fact is, the rich become rich because they forge good habits and those good habits help them to grow and improve, raise their IQs and allow them to be highly productive by staying healthy and energetic. Smarter, healthier, more energetic people have fewer sick days and can work more hours. They can also continue working, well into their 70’s, which only helps to grow their wealth.
Below are five benefits of aerobic exercise that explains why aerobic exercise is a common habit among the rich:
#1 Aerobic Exercise Improves Mental Functioning and Boosts Your IQ
- Aerobic exercise floods the bloodstream with oxygen. This oxygen eventually makes its way to the brain. Since the brain uses 20% of our oxygen reserves, increased oxygen flow into the brain soaks up more free radical waste inside the brain, making it cleaner and healthier.
- Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise every day has been proven to stimulate the growth of axon branches on each neuron. The number of axon branches you have is directly related to how intelligent you are. So aerobic exercise makes you more intelligent.
#2 Aerobic Exercise Makes You Healthier
- Aerobic exercise increases blood flow, feeds the body with oxygen and strengthens the heart.
- Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking or jogging, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure and control blood sugar.
- If you’ve had a heart attack, aerobic exercise helps strengthen your heart, preventing future heart attacks.
- Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. This results in less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
- Studies show that people who participate in regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don’t exercise regularly.
- Healthier people have fewer sick days, more energy and this translates into more productivity at work. More productivity makes you more valuable to your organization, customers or clients, which translates into more value and ultimately more money.
#3 Aerobic Exercise Prevents Disease
- Oxygen is like a sponge. It soaks up free radicals (cancer causing, DNA mutating, roaming electrons) and converts these free radicals to carbon dioxide. The blood carries this carbon dioxide to the lungs, which then removes the carbon dioxide from our bodies by exhaling it into the environment.
- Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.
#4 Aerobic Exercise Reduces the Effects of Stress Which Boosts Your Immune System
- When we feel stress, there is a domino effect of physiology that takes place inside our bodies. When we think negative thoughts that create stress the hypothalamus increases the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones make the heart beat faster and prepare the body for fight or flight. If the stress lingers, a gene on chromosome 10, called CYP17, is activated. This gene goes to work to convert cholesterol to cortisol.
- Cortisol is used in virtually every part of the body and it’s purpose is to integrate the body and the mind. The body and mind then work in harmony to escape the external threat that triggered the stress response. One of cortisol’s side effects, unfortunately, is that it depresses the immune system by reducing the production of lymphocytes – white blood cells. The gene CYP17 also turns on another gene called TCF, which suppresses the the creation of a protein called interleukin 2.
- Interleukin 2′s purpose is to put white blood cells on high alert. White blood cells are our main defense against viruses, diseases, germs and any parasites that infect the body. Long-term stress, therefore, impairs our immune system’s ability to fight off these viruses, diseases, germs and parasites.
#5 Aerobic Exercise Makes You Feel Happier
- Aerobic exercise contributes to an overall feeling of well-being through the release of certain happiness neuro-chemicals, such as endorphins and dopamine.
- According to recent studies on happiness, 40% of happiness is activity-driven, 10% is circumstantial and 50% is genetic. Aerobic exercise is considered a happiness activity because of the happiness chemicals released during and after exercise.