We all know that exercise can help you lose weight and strengthen muscles, bones, ligaments, etc. But, can exercise really be considered medicine? Many doctors and medical professionals think so, which is why many have begun pushing the slogan “exercise as medicine.” But what exactly does this mean and is it true? Well, in this article, you will find out exactly why exercise is indeed medicine.
Your Body Works Best When Exercising
A big part of the reason why exercising is so good for you is because your body was designed with exercise in mind. When you exercise, most of your body’s internal systems operate at peak efficiency. For example, in your circulatory system, your blood pressure goes down, the walls on your blood vessels relax thus improving blood flow, your LDL cholesterol levels decrease, and your HDL cholesterol levels increase (LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol and the HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol).
This is your body working by design. From an evolutionary perspective, the human body was designed for long-term physical activity, mainly running, but also heavy lifting as well. So, a big part of the reason why exercise is medicine is because your body was literally designed to work at peak efficiency while exercising.
Exercise Can Help Fight a Variety of Diseases
Exercise is so effective at combatting various kinds of diseases and conditions, that many doctors often joke that if all the benefits of diseases were somehow put into a single drug, it would be the most popular drug in the world. A wide variety of diseases can be combatted or managed through the use of exercise. In many cases, exercise is as effective, if not more effective, then pills.
So, what are some examples of disease that exercise can help you combat? For starters, there is heart disease; one of the biggest killers in the western world. Exercise is incredibly useful when it comes to combatting heart disease because as was said earlier, exercise helps lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Depression is another common health issue that can be combatted by regular exercise. Exercise, especially cardio, triggers the release of feel-good hormones that can help combat the negative feelings brought on by depression.
Another great example is arthritis. For people suffering from it, moderate amounts of exercise can be a great way to help work out the affected muscles and manage the pain caused by arthritis.
This article could go on and on with more diseases, but by now you probably get the point. Exercise is so helpful when dealing with a variety of diseases, that is hard to see it as anything but medicine.