Surely 99% of studies and analysis prove exercise to be a health benefit. Today, however, we are witnessing more and more that exercise can prevent, thwart, or even cure depression, physical ailments, and varied illness and disease.
What’s a Healthy Definition of Medicine?
Too often we think of medicine as a pill, drug, or something manufactured that a doctor prescribes. Medicine, as a practice, is the science and art of: 1) preventing or treating disease or injury; and 2) health maintenance.
Medicine is used to treat signs and symptoms. It’s also something that can be served as a remedy. Doesn’t exercise fit beautifully into this category?
Medicine for Your Mind
One of exercise’s greatest advantages is that it’s free. You don’t need health insurance or a credit card to exercise. The only thing is costs you is well-spent time and natural energy. It’s definitely an investment, but the payout is tremendous.
Stress Reduction: Exercise, especially aerobic, busts out the production of endorphins. Endorphins are those “feel good” chemicals that get released. In addition to elevating your mood, endorphins are actually natural painkillers.
Stress amongst Americans has risen significantly over the past decade. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association noted that over 75% of the participants pointed to finances as the root cause. Work stress ranked almost as high. In third place, the most common stressor was family responsibilities.
Exercise creates a neurochemical effect, reducing stress. Instead of a pill, a drink, or some counter-intuitive behavior to find some relief, why not prescribe yourself a walk, jog, or another form of physical movement?
Medicine for the Body
Physical Benefit: Besides looking good and feeling good (which can never be invalidated!) exercise shows that it offers healing value.
A new study out of Bringham Young University in Provo, Utah is claiming that running, after all, is not necessarily bad for your knees. In healthy adults, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment. In terms of long-term health, running may actually delay the development of degenerative joint diseases.
If the movement in knee joints (according to this particular study) reduces inflammation, then perhaps movement in joints in other parts of the body can benefit.
Unless one is injured, exercise, seems to always tout positive results. Have there been any reports of exercise, as a medicine, producing negative side effects?
Reviewing What We Know
Cortisol and adrenaline levels are elevated when we experience stress and anxiety. Those are the hormones that can wreak havoc on our immune system. We’re learning that the long-term effects of these chemicals create cellular degeneration that lead to disease—serious and potentially deadly disease.
Exercise can decrease levels of anxiety and depression.
Biologically, exercise assists our organs in expelling toxins. Doesn’t a cleaner liver, more richly oxygenated blood, and clearer skin all sound so good?
And of course, exercise, along with a whole-food mindful diet, will help you shed unwanted pounds.
Let’s help make exercise our medicine of today and of the future.
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