View Full Version : In the Grand Scheme of Things, Exercise Is Better Than Medicine!

7th August 2011, 06:41 PM
What is it about exercise that makes it better than medicine? Well, for starters you can enjoy it when you are well-who needs medicine when feeling great? Another reason is this: The company you share exercising is almost always more cheerful than those you meet when sick. Something about hospitals and other places where sick people hang out seems to take the joie de vivre out of people.

Another reason I prefer exercise to medicine concerns attire. I prefer any kind of exercise equipment (e.g., Speedo briefs for swimming, running shorts, bike outfits and so on) to the gowns with the string in back we're required to wear for medical tests and procedures.

I'm guessing you, too, prefer exercise to medicine. Who does not? Yet, far more engage with medicine, including getting medical care, than engage in exercise. How irrational is that?

The advantages of exercise and medicine seem pretty obvious to you and me. Yet, it is NOT obvious to large numbers of Americans. If it were, exercise would be so popular we'd have to take a number and wait your turn to jog or walk on public roadways.

Now the American Heart Institute (AHA) is pushing exercise as a medical treatment. The new slogan of some medical groups is that exercise is the best medicine. Exercise is great for health and exuberant living-no doubt about that. But, don't let them medicalize it. It is not a treatment, it's not a cure all and nobody needs a doctor to prescribe exercise.

Only 22 percent of Americans get enough exercise to have healthy hearts, says the AHA. About 54 percent of Americans don't exercise at all! This almost sounds suicidal. The Surgeon General considers minimal exercise as that which burns 150 calories a day, or 1,000 calories a week. This amount of burning requires a 150-pound person to exercise for only 30 to 45 minutes-that's all. Dreadful!

I don't like to dwell on risk factors. Still, if you know someone who just can't seem to appreciate the POSITIVE benefits of exercise, remind him or her of some of the NEGATIVE things that can be avoided by relying on exercise rather than medicine.

Exercise strengthens the muscle with the best work ethic in the human body, namely, the heart. Regular exercise that reaches a so-called "target heart rate"-that's 60 to 70 percent of maximal heart rate, makes that muscle beat more efficiently. It also strengthens arteries and improves blood circulation. A few thousand studies going back nearly to the Middle Ages show that regular exercise lowers the risk of needing medicine for heart disease by half. Of course, it also lowers blood pressure and overall cholesterol levels while raising the level of HDL, the high density "good" cholesterol that helps remove the harmful LDL, or "bad" low density cholesterol, in your arteries.

Exercise benefits people at risk for diabetes, both type one and two. It helps maintain proper glucose levels, helps prevent large blood vessel and heart (cardiovascular) disease and reduces the need for insulin for those who have either type of diabetes.

Exercise is great for managing weight and toning, firming and the like-and by avoiding the plague of obesity; you also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. You have to "spend" (burn) more calories than you consume or you will gain weight. Most experts claim that regular exercise decreases appetite (I personally have never found that to be true) and increases metabolism (definitely true!), so you burn calories more efficiently.

Exercise is excellent for reducing the pain, inflammation and stiffness of arthritis. Exercise increases blood supply to muscles. It also improves joint flexibility and strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Exercise is known to reduce the risk and relieve the symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. One study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that exercise improved mood after 16 weeks better than medicines, prescription antidepressants in particular. It does this by releasing endorphins and other brain chemicals that naturally improve mood while reducing pain.

As noted, these are just the negative good reasons why exercise is better than medicine, in my opinion. Don't you agree?

Look on the bright side and be well.

Article Source: online