A sedentary lifestyle can lead to numerous diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer1. Common treatments for these ailments often include prescription medications. A simple, but underused, treatment is available – exercise! Regular exercise has been found to be a powerful ally in preventing or correcting these illnesses. Recent studies support that “exercise is potentially similar to many drug interventions in preventing early death in patients with coronary heart disease, who have heart failure, who are recovering from stroke, and in preventing diabetes.“ However, physicians have been slow to prescribe exercise to improve their patients’ health.
Even the ancient scholar Hippocrates2 realized the connection between exercise and overall wellbeing. He wrote, “eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise work together to produce health.” Aside from the numerous diseases that exercise can prevent or correct, it is also essential for maintaining weight control. But, more importantly, the more we exercise, the less likely we are to die of numerous causes. With this much evidence to support the health benefits of exercise, it’s curious as to why it’s not the leading prescription in the nation!
While it wouldn’t be wise to stop taking your prescription medications without the consent of your physician, it’s important to discuss what exercise can do for your health while you are with your doctor. By regularly incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle, you can reap all of the wonderful benefits of exercise – including less stress and more happiness. If you’d like to discuss exercise as medicine in more detail, please contact me. I’d be happy to help you realize the benefits of regular physical activity!
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