Exercise is still the best medicine

30 October 2013

A recent report published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, confirms what most of us already know—that regular exercise is an important key to human health. The report also suggests that the value of exercise is often under-rated by medical practitioners in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. The most recent tests conclude that exercise should not only be included in the medical treatment of cardiovascular diseases, but that it may be even better than medication. One side effect that was previously ignored is that the pills you take may disturb your digestive system, while exercise has no side effects other than possible muscular stiffness when you first begin.

Some patients are lazy to exercise and prefer t o pop a pill than to work out, but the less medication you take, the better you will feel overall. Other patients, told that exercise is beneficial to their health, make the mistake of plunging into a vigorous routine without warming up and suffer subsequent aches and pains from previously unused muscles. If you have not exercised regularly before, then you need to begin slowly and allow the body to adapt as muscular strength improves.

The trick is go into an exercise routine gradually, working up from simple stretches to more complicated movements that may include weight lifting, or long walks, or sports.

I’ve found, at my advanced age, that although I have done some daily exercise most of my adult life, that I am most comfortable doing my stretches and lifts and routines in the swimming pool where the body is buoyant and you don’t suffer muscle strain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that moderate physical activities such as walking or cycling can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer and depression, as well as cutting the risk of bone fracture and helping control weight.

In the United States the present figures on national health are sobering. It is estimated that nearly half of all-American adults are already obese (very fat) and less than half of them exercise enough to improve their health.