Exercise should be prescribed just like a medicine. This is what the Journal of American Medical Association asserts and a growing number of doctors are taking action to further prove the scientific benefits of exercise.
Study upon study continues to show that exercise is one of the “most effective, potent ways” to improve quality and duration of life.
In 2011, a study of mice who were genetically compromised with a disease that caused premature aging, proved that mice that were the most active were indistinguishable from healthy mice. The mice in the study that were sedentary, however, were “barely hanging on” by the end of the study. (link to Time)
As Dr. Mark Tanopolsky, author of the study, says, “The most effective therapy available to my patients right now is exercise.”
Anyone who has ever gotten their sweat on can attest that exercise offers several immediate health benefits:
- Right off the bat, exercise can improve your mood. Physical activity gives various brain chemicals a good work out, which can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
- Exercise also boosts your energy, improving your muscle strength and endurance. By sending oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, exercise makes your cardiovascular system more efficient and boosts heart and lung health.
- Improvements in skin occur thanks to the increased blood flow that provides more oxygen to the body and also helps remove waste products and free radicals.
- Exercise, in appropriate amounts, prompts the immediate production of sex hormones that are essential for gonadal and reproductive health.
Beyond the instantly felt benefits, life changing transformation comes with regular exercise:
- Consistent exercise helps control weight and maintain weight loss by increasing your metabolism.
- Regular exercise also combats a wide range of health concerns and disease, including stroke, heart disease metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis and various cancers.
- Long term exercise has been shown to slow the aging process, improving memory, boosting brain cognition, and benefiting eyesight.
With all the known benefits of exercise, why is that only 20% of Americans get the right amount of 150 minutes of strength and cardio each week?
According to Time magazine, the importance of physical activity is historical. As Hippocrates famously wrote, “Eating alone will not keep a man well. He must also take exercise.” Still, somewhere between 400 B.C. and today, we fell flat on our couches. Time alludes to the adoption of a single-minded focus on treating and curing disease. With the rise of surgery and pharmaceuticals in the early 1900s, modern medicine made a shift that focused on treatment methods over prevention.
Although we know that “exercise is good for us,” this vague promise isn’t always motivating. Experts and health organization are aimed at changes this and bringing physical activity back to the masses with the goal to prove that exercise is medicine.
Next year the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will begin an unprecedented study that details exactly what happens inside a physical active body.
Recent guidelines from American College of Physicians took a transformative turn by promoting conservative care and non-pharmacological therapies as a first line of defense against lower back pain. Doctors, they say, should steer their patients to therapies like exercise and yoga and complimentary care practices such as acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic.
Are you ready to move? Is pain or injury holding you back?
If you have questions about incorporating exercise into your health routine or have felt like health issues have been preventing you from regularly exercising, please contact our Physical Medicine and Chiropractic team. We offer free consultations and functional movement screenings that can help you identify any functional limitations and prevent potential injury. Visit us online to schedule or call us at 773.598.4387.