Medicine is Exercise

Medicine Is Exercise

Exercise is medicine and medicine is exercise is the same while some might feel that they are contradictory. Initially, started as one of the major programs of a health initiative, both have become a catchphrase for fitness experts, doctors, and those individuals who want to motivate you to become more active and healthier. The question you might ponder about is whether physical activity or prescribed medications are the replacement for vice-versa?

It can be tough and a bit confusing, but physicians feel that medicine can be a bit replacement for exercise when there are no side-effects involved. Even though there are various studies which show that physical activity can indeed prevent extreme and radical diseases, promoting well-being and health and even bring long life.

Mounting Evidence Showing the Relationship Between Medicine & Exercise

Since Biblical times, there are various evidences proving the health benefits of medications and exercise. Modern and latest scientific research have confirmed the old age wisdom that physical activity and medication can reduce the risk of having stroke, heart diseases, breast and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and even depression.

The benefits of physical activity are amazing, it can improve one’s endurance, sleep and sex. Scientists are learning every day about the medicinal qualities of physical activity and vice-versa each day. A study conducted in the early 2000 found that exercise is quite effective as a drug for preventing death from some of the most common diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Studies found in various British Journal of sport show that regular aerobic exercise will easily boost the hippocampus size, which is the area of the brain that is involved in verbal memory and learning.

As per various studies and research, even a slight increase in activities like spending a lot of time in gardening, quicker walking pace and doing various other leisure activities will easily improve the functions of the heart and other organs. In addition, post-meal walking will assist in regulating the levels of blood sugar, flexibility and strengthening exercise will lower the pain in knee arthritis, and various other programs will assist in improving the cognitive functions of individuals having dementia.

Can Physical Activity Be A Good Treatment of Its Own?

In certain cases, or you can say in some cases, physical activity is the best treatment for various diseases. The physical activity you follow, can reduce the basic symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Most importantly, when combined with weight loss, it will assist individuals who are in the early stages of diabetes from needing any kind of medication.

So, you might wonder, can physical activity make medication more effective? Well, research feel that it is still in discussion and research mode, but no doubt physical activity can be considered as the first-line of therapy along with medical treatment.

How Exercise Can Protect One’s Health?

According to various experts, the human body is designed in such a manner that all kinds of physiological functions can be optimized as and when one moves. Frankly, we never realize that it doesn’t take a huge amount of activity. As per the study conducted by the Harvard University, when an individual exercises, his muscles releases natural substances which assist in relaxing the walls of the blood vessel, reducing huge amount of bad LDL cholesterol, lowering the blood pressure, increasing the amount of the good HDL cholesterol, etc.

Also, it helps in moving the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells of the body where it is much required. It even helps in reducing inflammation and lowering the level of insulin. All these basic functions together assist in protecting one against stroke, heart disease, certain kind of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Necessity of Prescribing Exercise by Physician

Do you know there are three basic factors influencing one’s longevity and health? These are environment, genetics, and behavior. Since, there is little control over genetic factor, you might realize now that one needs to focus on the behavioral and environmental factors to improve health and become disease-free.

There are multiple and huge strides taken in lowering the environmental factors that influence diseases like hygiene, vaccination, and safety regulations. Little steps have been followed to target behavioral factors with regards to physical activities. Somewhat it is unfortunate to see that very less precautions have been taken to address the major scenario that affect one’s longevity and health and that too which is under our control.

So, no doubt, physical inactivity has become one of the biggest public health issue for us, doctors and physicians find it tedious to gain more methods to make patients more active. This is critical for improving one’s health and to prolong one’s life, especially in this century.

Do you know there is a beneficial relationship among health and exercise? This dates to the fifth century. Hippocrates has said that eating alone won’t keep an individual healthy, he needs to do good amount of exercise too. Food and exercise together help to make one healthy.

This is a relationship which is established for centuries and from various scientific research which displays a clear correlation among health status and physical activity.

Individuals who have an active and healthy life will live for longer years and have healthier life compared to those who don’t. Frankly, this association among health and physical activity always persists in all kinds of subgroup of population irrespective of sex, age, environmental conditions and race.

Scientific Reason Between Health & Physical Activity

There are various scientific evidences proving the benefits of regular physical activity on all kinds of primary and secondary prevention of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis, depression and dementia. In addition, regular physical activity helps to maintain and achieve the required weight control. Ultimately, there is a clear correlation among all kinds of mortality and physical activity. No doubt, there is a real connection between exercising and medicine and it is the much-required vaccine and medication for preventing all kinds of premature death and chronic diseases.

Armed with such kind of knowledge, you might feel why the organized medicine hasn’t declared a great war against the physical inactivity? Now, if there was a pill which could easily confer all the necessary and required health benefits related to exercising, we would in turn end up doing humanly possible so that every individual could easily access this wonderful drug.

So, another question that comes to your mind is that whether this prescribed pill will be the most wanted medication in the entire human history. No doubt, the huge powerful pharmaceutical machine that are existing in the world right now will like individuals all over the world to know about this pill and the world health care organization and systems would pay anything for it irrespective of the cost.

Economic Factors Related to Exercising

Besides the effects involved in physical activity related to mortality and morbidity, there are various economic reasons related to it for trying to increase the physical activity among patients. Compared to active patients, the sedentary patients cost somewhere about US $1500 more each year. In states like California, the medical cost attributes to somewhere around inactivity which is estimated around US $28 billion each year (i.e. as per the statistics of 2010). Surprisingly, this figure shows an increase of 35% increase in 2013.

How Physical Activity Comes into Play?

As clearly stated, physical inactivity affects one’s health by increasing the metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction. More and more individuals like adolescents and children have or are living a sedentary lifestyle and this leads to various health issues. The most common health problem is obesity which is accompanied by the lack of doing any kind of physical activity, which in turn leads to serious and dangerous health issues like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even hypertension.

Various studies have even shown that lack of physical activity leads to mortality and morbidity. Overweight individuals often show abnormal cardiovascular functions and sometimes obesity has shown to be the major factor for various cardiovascular diseases like cardiac complications (such as heart diseases, heart failure), hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Medical practitioner often associate obesity with reduce life expectancy and even sudden death even though there are the negative effects that are related to cardiovascular system. Overweight people will have higher chances of hypertension. So, compared to normal weighted individuals, obesity will lead to potential risk for hypertension development for individuals who are overweight.

Studies show that a ten-kilo excess weight is often associated to 3 mmHg higher systolic and even lead to two to three mmHg higher resting diastolic blood pressure. So, now this can easily be translated to the estimated increase in various diseases like coronary heart problem (which is 12%) and sometimes increase risk of stroke (which is about 24%).

Now these include the alterations in the metabolic profile which is quite common in overweight people like ones suffering from hyperglycaemia and dyslipidaemia. Such diseases can lead to serious impairment in the cardiac structure. Various medical research has shown that the left ventricular (LV) function and the ratio of the stroke index and LV of the end-diastolic pressure will be reduced due to being overweight. These changes display the depressed LV function which sometimes happens to young overweight and obese people.

There are various overwhelming evidences that indicate that regular physical activity especially when it is regular aerobic exercise will easily reduce the occurrence and severity of diseases that is related and common to an unhealthy lifestyle. Now one single bouts of excessive and tedious exercise will easily benefit your and improve the vascular function even for healthy people who have a family history of hypertension.

Regular aerobic exercise helps to improve one’s physical fitness (especially cardio respiratory fitness) and even improve the vascular function. What it means is that having a higher level of physical fitness is assessed through maximal or sub-maximal oxygen uptake test is easily desirable, when it is related to low cardio respiratory fitness. This is often related to an increase risk of getting cardiovascular diseases and mortality and also including other basic factors like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, smoking irrespective of the body mass index.

How HIIT Comes into Play?

Certain high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which in the form of interval sprinting exercise that are performed on stationary bikes can easily change metabolic and cardiac health of young individuals who are overweight, both females and males Keep in mind that physical activity is quite important that sometimes the failure to have a physical and active lifestyle will lead to various kinds of abnormalities like metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and even sometimes to type 2 diabetes. Certain studies have shown that BRS (Baroreceptor Sensitivity) decreases with age (especially in the age group 15 and 16) along with being overweight, hypertensive, and even obese.

It means that overall regular exercising will result in improving one’s pathogenesis and even to an extend the symptoms related to specific conditions which are related to chronic heart failure, dyslipidaemia, coronary heart disease, hypertension, intermittent claudication, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Now other health benefits of regular aerobic exercise consist of improving the balance, life expectancy, cognitive function and the basic quality of life. The basic modification of the sedentary lifestyle can be done by incorporating regular exercise which is paramount for improving one’s health as well as maintaining it.

No doubt, exercise is a powerful stimulus, this can easily lower the severity of the various conditions along its effect that is like various drug therapies. With this regard, exercise is widely accepted as a great medicine.

To conclude, exercise is a great health medication and physical inactivity will often lead to various cardiovascular issues. Keep in mind that a sedentary lifestyle is often associated to obesity and this will easily lead to the risk of having cardiovascular diseases. So, no doubt, medicine is a great exercise and one which helps in reducing various diseases and sickness. Start using exercise as medicine than medicine over exercise to solve your health issues.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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