Exercise can keep you healthy

Author: Bruce J. Little

It may even help you to heal

“Do 20 squats, 10 burpees, run on the spot for a minute and then call me in the morning.” 

 

Imagine your doctor prescribing this advice on a visit the next time you felt somewhat under the weather.  Well, in some instances it may be a remedy.

 

What ails

Look, we are nowhere near replacing medicine with a workout routine, but exercise can be a valuable asset when added to treatment plans for some conditions in certain circumstances. 

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for global mortality and is on the rise in many countries, adding to the burden of NCDs [noncommunicable diseases] and affecting general health worldwide.”

 

So, it stands to reason that if a lack of exercise can cause so much disease, the introduction of exercise may then have the opposite effect? 

  

Experts in the UK believe this to be the case. So much so that Public Health England in partnership with Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK have established an online resource known as Moving Medicine, which lists exercise strategies that can be used to help treat, and prevent conditions such as cancer, dementia, depression, falls and frailty, inflammatory rheumatic disease, ischaemic heart disease, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes . 

 

The site encourages physicians to click on a specific condition to learn more about how they can prescribe exercise for it and even provides strategies to help their patients identify what their barriers to getting exercise may be in motivating them to move more. 

 

What aids 

According to the WHO, one in four adults around the globe is not active enough. So, getting more exercise would be a good point of departure for most people noticing a decline in their health.  

 

  • Heart disease:  With your doctor’s permission obtained first, WebMD suggests mild forms of cardio like walking, jogging, dancing, cycling and rowing to help strengthen your heart and lower blood pressure. Moderate strength training with lighter weights is also recommended. Start slow and then build up gradually. 

  • Type 2 diabetes:  A medically reviewed article on Healthline suggests walking to maintain your health but adds yoga and swimming as forms of moderate exercise should you have or be at risk of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that we should all get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise every week.

  • Obesity: Exercise can be a great way to lose weight or maintain it in the fight against obesity. Another article by Healthline suggests that walking, swimming, cycling and resistance training can be effective for treating obesity too. 

 

It appears that most forms of exercise are effective in treating numerous conditions, which makes it convenient to know that one workout could be an effective strategy to treat and prevent more than just one condition.  

 

“The intensity of different forms of physical activity varies between people. In order to be beneficial for cardiorespiratory health, all activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration”, advises the WHO.

 

If you are suffering from a respiratory infection, exercise may not be advised.

 

Always consult a health expert before commencing an exercise routine in order to determine what levels of exertion may be safest for you to start off with. 

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