Exercise: your most natural medicine

Health and Fitness professionals have always looked at prescribed exercise as a form of regenerative healing to the mind and body, in much the same way as primary healthcare has prescribed medicine to heal their patients.

Physically and physiologically exercise has always made total sense to secondary healthcare specialists, where we change the way we move and use our bodies in order to optimize performance and rebalance the loads on our joints and soft tissue, as to avoid unnecessary injuries improving our wellbeing and thus how we feel about ourselves.

All of a sudden, doctors and scientists are taking exercise much more seriously and putting the hard science and research behind the fitness myth, backing up what we have known for years but couldn’t openly say. Fitness and Exercise are Medicine!!

A genetic metabolic neurologist, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, from the University of Ontario, Canada, has pioneered this research. He is a fitness nerd himself and he has set about to prove, all the skeptical science and his doctor buddies, that exercise is the panacea for chronic diseases.

After numerous tests on mice with tumors and other dire illnesses, he has been able to scientifically prove that disease can be healed and biological ageing can be reversed. Doctors are beginning to admit that exercise is the most potent and effective form of decreasing degenerative disease and prolonging life.

Tarnopolsky discovered that sedentary lifestyle, in mice, saw rapid muscle atrophy, hair and hearing loss, significant and rapid ageing of the metabolic system, thinned skin etc. The other mice that were put on treadmills 3 times a week, for an hour at a time, had the skin, hearts, lungs and hair of virile young mice. Great, if you are a rodent, but what about humans?

Today’s genetic therapies, from stem cell treatment to blood plasma infusions, and all the hormonal replacement therapies, used to reverse the ageing process, do not, according to Dr, Tarnopolsky, work as well as prescribed exercise. He noted that after a run, eyesight is sharper, skin is brighter, hormone output more responsive. Much better than any drug that doctors could prescribe.

The shocking fact that, with all the information out there about the benefits of movement and exercise, only 20% of Americans over the age of 6 are doing the National Institute of Health recommended 150 minutes of movement a week.

It is said that lack of exercise is the single biggest cause of death and also the early onset of arthritis-increased back pain, poor libido, depression and anxiety that sets off a chain reaction, or a downward spiral, in long term heath and wellbeing.

So why with all these gyms and boutique fitness centers opening everywhere is there not more people working out?

Inactivity physiologists, a new breed of researchers on people who don’t move, have coined a new word for lack of exercise: “Exercise deficit disorder.” It begins with the schools not prioritizing gym and team sports. The trend in high school is towards more academics and more pressure to do well in tests. Fitness is being pushed aside and seems to be more out of reach to our youngsters.

Kids are always told that exercise is good for you and great for the heart and brain but they need to know it is essential for learning and retaining information as well as boosting energy. Fitness is not about the Olympics and elite sports, which tends to put them off. It is also not about pushing heavy weights either. Anything you do that you like to do outdoors is potentially a great exercise whether it is skate boarding, throwing a ball or hitting a shuttlecock or going scuba diving. All movement is exercise.

Hippocrate, in the year 400AD, talked about food and exercise as the key to good health. Doctors then were the PE teachers of their time.

Exercise has been linked to cognitive retention and learning, better memory, less depression and better moods. In fact science is learning that molecules that protect our cells especially the telomeres, actually prevent the cell from dividing ultimately slowing the aging process at the cellular level.

A 170 million dollar research will take place next year on the effects of exercise on all the body systems. It will be carried out at Washington DC’s National Institute of Health. Every aspect of exercise will be tested and evaluated from hormones, enzyme activity to brain and lung tissue research. We all hope with this detailed research that primary healthcare doctors will revert back to being our PE and PT providers.

Now, that will give me a great excuse to go and see my doctor again!!

December 8, 2016

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