This fall I flipped through a Time magazine and started skimming the article on exercise. OK, I thought. I know this. Then I stopped. I was blown away.
“If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed,” the doctor was saying.
That doctor, Mark Tarnopolsky, is a genetic metabolic neurologist at McMaster University in Ontario. His patients have severe genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy. He and other researchers see exercise as an extraordinary boost to health — not just for major diseases, but for everything from beautiful skin to mood boosting.
This year the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will begin a six-year, $170 million study showing how exercise affects every aspect of health, beginning with 3,000 sedentary people ranging in age from children to seniors. Among the intents: To show that exercise is a beneficial drug that can be prescribed as medicine.
We’ve all heard our parents, friends, and doctors say, “Get some exercise; it’s good for you.” But when does anyone tell you exactly how exercise can help you and how much of which kind you need? Many doctors feel that the time is now.
A recent Mayo Clinic article calls exercise “powerful medicine” and a “readily available therapy … with little to no adverse effects.” Its main author envisions that one day doctors will prescribe for a patient a tailor-made exercise along with medication. The NIH study is the next step toward making it happen.
6 Reasons Exercise is Effective
It’s a Brain Booster
Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and feeds the growth of new blood vessels and brain cells. A recent study shows that a protein secreted by muscles during exercise, called cathepsin B (CTSB), is directly linked to memory and cognition. Understanding how this protein affects the brain helps doctors come closer to addressing the risk of dementia and other degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
It Lifts Your Mood
It’s the World’s Best Skin Treatment
Your skin will glow because the increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health.
It Keeps You Young (Literally!)
Not only do flexibility and balance keep you moving quickly and feeling young, but studies show that exercise can add up to 5 years to your life. That’s because it helps slow down the aging of cells.
It Promotes and Speeds Up Healing
Studies show that people with conditions like type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, or heart failure, or people recovering from a stroke will manage symptoms and heal faster by exercising. Throw out those old wives tales that tell you not to use your joints if you have arthritis or chronic lower back pain. The right kind and amount of movement can work wonders. Be sure to check with your doctor first about the best exercise for you, especially if your condition is severe.
It Makes You Svelte
You’ve heard all your life that exercise helps you lose weight. Yes and no. It is part of any healthy diet plan. But remember exercise is actually helping build muscle and likely increasing your appetite, so losing weight may not come quickly. But the good news is that exercise helps you burn fat more efficiently and causes fat cells to shrink — your body will happily tune up.
The great news: You don’t need to be a gym rat that suits up in expensive gear and works out for hours. Raking leaves, pruning bushes, dusting, vacuuming, strolling, and dancing — any physical activity counts.
The U.S. government recommends exercising 150 minutes a week — that’s 5 days of 30 minutes each. Take a walk! In the long run it’s more beneficial than becoming a marathoner (marathons are physical stressors).
No time? Don’t despair: Researchers have discovered that high intensity interval training (or HIIT) can do the trick: a 10-minute workout can be just as effective as a 45-minute session if the intervals are carried out with vigour.
Try it! You can bike, run, or swim. During the “all-out” phases you have to move really fast. The intensity isn’t for everyone, so check with your doctor first:
Fast Track Training:
2 minutes: Warm up
20 seconds: All-out bike, swim, or run
2 minutes: Repeat the exercise, slow and easy
20 seconds: All-out bike, swim, or run
3 minutes: Cool down
Keep up the good work in 2017
Source: Everyday Health