Exercise-What you Need to Know

Finally after hundreds of years of searching for the Fountain of Youth!

The Fountain of Youth, a mythical spring, would allegedly restore the youth of anyone who drank or bathed in its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted around the world for thousands of years. These waters were said to reverse the aging process and to cure all sickness when swallowed or bathed in. The most notable seeker of the Fountain of Youth was the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, the first Governor of Puerto Rico.


When hope of finding the Fountain of Youth faded, the search turned to finding the Wonder Drug.

This Wonder Drug would be a medicine that would be so powerful it would reverse all of the ills plaguing mankind. When the Wonder Drug was found, all mankind would finally have vibrant health! Although many wonderful, helpful drugs were discovered, the Wonder Drug was not found.


The search for the Fountain of Youth and for a Wonder Drug are manifestations of humankinds incessant desire to be healthy.


Finally, we have Discovered the Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug, known to Mankind.

Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC and one of the greatest public health scientists of our day has announced:

"Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug. Even if you don't lose an ounce, you'll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis."


In the Bible we learn about a merchant who found one Pearl of such great value, that he sold all of his other belongings to acquire the Pearl.

Exercise, in our search for Health, is that Priceless Pearl. Exercise is of such Value, that we give up whatever is necessary to have it in our life.


EXERCISE IMPROVES YOUR GENERAL HEALTH


Exercise should be First Line therapy for most medical conditions. There is no health problem that exercise won’t benefit. Exercise makes a person healthier and just as a rising tide lifts all boats, when you become healthier, everything gets better. The benefits of exercise are proven in thousands of medical studies. For example: people that exercise live longer.


Do you have Heart Disease or Diabetes?

Exercise works just as well as drugs for heart disease and diabetes. The British Medical Journal published a study in October of 2013 that showed that patients who exercised, and did not use drugs (such as cholesterol medications) to treat their heart disease or diabetes, lived just as long as the people who took the drugs and didn't exercise. Of course patients can do both, but only if they understand the importance of exercise. The patients who had strokes and exercised lived much longer than the patients who didn't exercise.


Diabetics have their life expectancy increased with exercise, and it may cure the diabetes itself with regular daily exercise. Exercise causes weight loss which benefits diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps normalize high blood pressure.


Do you have Depression?

Exercise beats depression better than antidepressants. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed and are now one of the 3 most prescribed categories of drugs, coming in right after painkillers and cholesterol medications.

This 2010 Newsweek article said "STUDIES SUGGEST THAT THE POPULAR DRUGS ARE NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A PLACEBO. IN FACT, THEY MAY BE WORSE."

Yet large medical studies show that exercise is MORE EFFECTIVE for depression than antidepressants. Exercise works, and it should be the first treatment offered to every patient, particularly those with depression. Exercise is also very effective for anxiety.


Are you a Senior?

Aerobic exercise prevents the mental decline associated with aging and reduces the frequency of Alzheimer's.


Do you have Chronic Pain?

EXERCISE REDUCES PAIN. Exercise for most patients with chronic pain is at least as effective as their pain medication and for many, exercise is more effective. Less patients would end up with chronic pain if they exercised daily. Patients with chronic pain will feel better and need less medication if they use exercise as a therapy. A recent medical study of 866 seniors followed for 14 years found that the seniors who engaged in regular aerobic exercise had a substantial reduction in musculoskeletal pain. A recent study presented at the American College of Rheumatology found that patients with arthritis who exercised had a higher quality of life, less pain and reduced health care expenses. The lead researcher said:


“Regular physical activity improves health and reduces mortality in the general population. Furthermore, physical activity promotes arthritis specific health benefits including improving symptoms, function and psychosocial outcomes, as well as reduced disability. Despite these benefits the majority of adults in the U.S. do not attain the recommended amount of physical activity.

After 2 years the patients who exercised had a higher quality of life, IE less pain and more functionality than those that didn’t exercise. The patients who did some exercise but didn’t meet the guidelines did better than the patients who didn’t exercise at all but not as good as the patients who met the guidelines.

Do you have Arthritis?

Walking is good! Even for arthritis of the knees, according to Dr. White, lead author of a 2 year study of 1,800 adults published June 12, 2014 in Arthritis Care & Research. Dr White said:


"People with knee arthritis should be walking around 6,000 steps per day, and the more walking one does the less risk of developing functioning difficulties."


According to the study, for every 1,000 steps taken daily, functional limitations were reduced 16 percent to 18 percent. Dr. White also said:


"Walking helps reduce arthritic pain."

Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City said:


"This study just adds to the vast amount of research and common sense that tells us we need to get off our fannies and out the door."


She added:


"Walking is free and you already know how to do it."


Do you have Headaches or Migraines?

Exercise prevents headaches and migraines. Aerobic exercise several times a week has been shown to reduce the frequency of headaches by about 50% and the remaining headaches are milder and don’t last as long. Many people for whom headache medicine does not work, find that their headache medicine starts working after starting an exercise plan.


Do you have Fibromyalgia?

Aerobic Exercise is the 'Most Effective Weapon' for Fibromyalgia. For patients with fibromyalgia, exercise is more effective than drugs, according to Dr. Hauser, who is an expert in the field. He said:

"Aerobic exercise is the most effective weapon we have; healthy people profit from continuous physical exercise, and so do patients with fibromyalgia."




In Summary: Exercise is your Friend. Regular Exercise will Improve your Life in Every Way we can Measure.

And if you are already Healthy:

EXERCISE is your key to staying Healthy!


DO I NEED A MEDICAL CLEARANCE

BEFORE I START AN EXERCISE PLAN?

If you have:

  1. uncontrolled high blood pressure,

  2. heart disease,

  3. family history of heart disease,

  4. or risk factors for heart disease,

  5. or any concern about starting a walking program,

You should get clearance from your primary care provider before beginning any exercise program.


However, Dr Barry Franklin (William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI) states that:

“the cardiovascular benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for a vast majority of adults, especially if they engage in light-to-moderate activity. Asymptomatic men and women should be able to get active without consulting a doctor unless they have specific medical questions.”


Most people should start with daily walking, which is defined as moderate level aerobic exercise. Most patients, without symptoms or known medical conditions, should be able to start walking without specific medical clearance.


Furthermore, Dr Per-Olof Astrand, a pioneer in the field of physiology and exercise testing states:

"A medical evaluation is more urgent for those who plan to remain inactive than for those who intend to get into good physical shape."


So use your own best judgement and get medical clearance before starting if you need it, and particularly if you are going to do vigorous level aerobics such as jogging or running.


WHAT IS AEROBIC EXERCISE?

Aerobic exercise elevates your heart rate. Think of activities that cause you to get out of breath. Walking, running, climbing stairs, swimming, bicycling, just about everything is aerobic.

The most frequently recommended exercise is walking, which is defined as moderate level aerobics, as opposed to jogging which is defined as vigorous level. For most patients a daily walking program is most practical. Simply follow your nose and keep walking for at least 10 minutes. If you are really debilitated try for at least 5 minutes to start with. You can increase later. If you check your pulse before and during you will find that your pulse increases. If not, then walk a little faster.


Some people that have active jobs, believe they don't need aerobic exercise. Many people spend a lot time on their feet at work, but it is usually too stop and go to actually be aerobic. Remember for aerobic exercise to benefit you, it needs to be in minimum increments of 10 minutes. Most people don’t spend 10 minutes walking at work. So even if you are on your feet all day at work, you probably still need to start a daily walking program to get your aerobic exercise.


WHAT IS THE EXERCISE GOAL?

The CDC, WHO, The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, The American Heart Association, The President's Council on Physical Fitness, The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Newsletter (in other words: EVERBODY) agree with the recommendation that most adults should get 150+ minutes of moderate level exercise per week. This works out to be 30 minutes, or more, of walking, or the equivalent, 5 days per week. Some people may need to work up to that level, and that is fine. You should start with what is practical for you with your fitness level.


Avoid payback. For many patients, if they start too fast or make too much of an increase too soon, they will get what we call “payback”. Payback means you are so sore the next day that you can’t do any exercise. Better to start slowly and not get any payback.


If you do get payback, skip the exercise for 1-2 days until you are back to your normal. Then try increasing your exercise about half as much as the amount that caused the payback. The key to starting an exercise plan is to start low and go slow.

If ice and snow prevents you from walking in your neighborhood, most malls allow mall walking, often before the stores are open in the morning. The important thing is to make a plan that will work for you. Some people want to use a stationary bike or swim, etc. Any exercise is an improvement, and you should do what works for you.


Exercise that requires you to support your weight causes a greater improvement than non weight bearing exercise. Walking, running or jogging are weight bearing and are generally recommended more than non weight bearing exercises such as bicycling, swimming, etc.


But any exercise is better than no exercise, so make your best plan and get started.


One study reported on wheel chair bound senior citizens who were so debilitated the only exercise program they could do was to sit there and lift their leg up off the chair repeatedly. Even that program caused significant improvements in quality of life. I have had bed bound patients that did arm and leg lifts in bed. Some patients who have not been able to get out to a mall or other suitable place for daily walking have developed walking programs in their own apartment or in the hallway. Thirty minutes walking in circles in your apartment hallway is still aerobic and will benefit your health.


REMEMBER

"Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug. Even if you don't lose an ounce, you'll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis." Tom Frieden, MD, Former Director of CDC


Juan Ponce de León spent many years searching for the Fountain of Youth. Medical researchers have spent billions of dollars in search of the Wonder Drug. Now you have the closest thing to a Wonder Drug, known to mankind. What will you do with it?


Take Care and BE HEALTHY!


CW Jasper

June 2022

8 comments

Recent Posts

See All