Health/Fitness » Fitness

Shocking Research Shows That Exercise Is Medicine

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017

Everyone wants to feel healthy, but they may not always know the best way to go about achieving and maintaining good health. Increasingly, researchers are pointing to the fact that exercise is medicine, and yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only around 22% of adults in the country meet their physical activity guidelines. Yet the research is piling up that supports the idea that exercise is medicine, and people have a lot of great reasons to make exercising a higher priority in their life.

"The importance of being physically active and getting enough exercise cannot be understated," explains Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA's Washington Mystics. "Getting exercise helps your body, mind, and soul, and it provides benefits from head to toe. Learn all you can about how it helps, find an exercise you enjoy, and then make the commitment to do it regularly."

The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, as well as two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity. Research shows that even small amounts of exercise can have benefits, and that exercise benefits all age groups. They also recommend that children engage in physical activity at least 60 minutes per day, and do muscle strengthening activities at least three days per week. In the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers shared study findings that doing moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise even one to two times per week was beneficial to preventing a first-ever stroke.

Many people shy away from exercise if they have asthma, but research shows that may be the wrong path to take. A study published in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Asthma found that regularly exercising among young adults improves their asthma control. Not only did the researchers report that regular exercise improves asthma control among young adults, but recommended that it be included as an important part of asthma self-management. This research demonstrates again that exercise is medicine.

Some of the additional many benefits of regularly exercising include:

  • Being able to better control your weight. It helps burn more calories even throughout the day, and keep your metabolism going strong.
  • Reducing risks of cardiovascular disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, physical activity can help lower blood pressure and triglycerides, raise the "good" cholesterol, manage blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce C-reactive protein in the body (which causes inflammation).
  • Reducing risks for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • Reducing the risks of some cancers, such as colon, breast, lung, and endometrial.
  • Strengthening bones and muscles, which can help people avoid hip fractures, as well as arthritis.
  • Improving mental health, mood, reducing depression, and improving overall quality of life. Regular exercise can also increase your chances of living longer.

    "There are many shockingly great benefits of exercising regularly," added Coach Walls. "There are few good reasons to ever avoid it. The important thing is to get started, stay committed, and then enjoy the benefits that come from it. Exercise truly is a powerful medicine that more people need to take advantage of."

    Sarah Walls has over 15 years experience in coaching and personal training. Owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc, founded in 2007, she offers coaching to develop athletes, adult programs, team training, online coaching, and more. She is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA's Washington Mystics, and has over eight years of experience working as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer.

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