Let’s Talk: Exercise as Medicine.

Imagine a drug that can prevent a whole host of feared diseases and ailments. A drug that can make you look great, feel better, preserve your body and increase your sex drive! The drug would outperform all others on the market.

A drug that is free, available at any time and can be administered in any way you desire.

Just imagine the possibilities if we were able to create a pill that gave you the effects of exercise.

Previously, I talked about doctors prescribing medications to my mother instead of trying to find her true underlying problem (which was inactivity). This is something that we see all over the world and it is a result of a few things;

  • Doctors only have around 13-16 minutes with each patient (According to the Physician Compensation Report, 2016). This means that the sessions are rushed and the doctor is only able to deal with the current problem at hand.If there is a problem, a doctor will write a script and send the patient on their way without looking deeper into the problem. If that same patient returns with some ill-effects from the drug, the doctor will prescribe another drug to contract those effects and this is how the cycle begins. The true problem is never really addressed in the first place.
  • Doctors are also heavily influenced by pharmaceutical companies. In 2003, doctors were interviewed for a study,  and it showed that pharmaceutical company representatives are the most common way in which doctors get their information. Prosser, Almond, Walley (2003) showed that Dr’s are more likely to listen to the reps rather than the actual science behind new drugs.

    “Prescribing of new drugs is not simply related to biomedical evaluation and critical appraisal but, more importantly, to the mode of exposure to pharmacological information and social influences on decision making” – Prosser, Almond, Walley (2003)

    Not only are doctors influenced socially by these companies, but more often than not, they are also influenced monetarily. Surveys conducted in 2004 and again in 2009 showed that 83.8% of doctors had a financial relationship with a drug or medical device company.

  • Doctors have little education and knowledge about nutrition and exercise.
    This study surveys medical schools and found that the nutrition education in medical schools is completely inadequate with med students only receiving 23.9 contact hours of nutrition (which is under the 25hr recommendation).

Before the time we are in now, where doctors are trying to treat disease, there was a time of prevention.

Hippocrates wrote, “Eating alone will not keep a man well, he must also take exercise.”

Although throughout the 1900’s, the mood shifted from prevention and into damage control mode. People were doing less exercise, their diets were turning into carbohydrate nightmares (making them fatter and unhealthier), pharmaceutical companies and surgeries were on the rise and doctors were prescribing meds to try and control all of the new problems that the Western World was facing. We were doing less exercise and being prescribed more drugs.

The mood is starting to change again. New studies are publishing amazing results of exercise trials and its effects on health.

Exercise has shown to improve heart health, blood flow, increase muscle size and quality, prevent premature ageing, reduce body fat %, increase metabolism, lessen the effects of many diseases (and even cure or prevent some), transport oxygen more efficiently and a whole host of other amazing things that keep your heart and body healthy.

In addition to organs, muscles and bones, another major beneficiary of exercise might be the brain. Recent research was able to show that exercise leads to to less depression, better memory and more efficient learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is currently the best way to prevent and delay Alzheimer’s.

It’s now very evident and well evidenced that just about everyone-kids, adults, elderly and the sick can all benefit from physical activity. The studies are emerging and the results are getting harder and harder to ignore. There is no better time than now to begin – exercise will change the trajectory of your life.

 

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