This post was contributed by:
Meihua Li, a Pharm.D. candidate class of 2017, Touro College of Pharmacy, with a Ph.D. in Pharmacy from Seoul National University, South Korea
If you are a healthcare provider, if there was a prescription that could prevent and treat many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, would you prescribe it to your patients? Exercise is one of the most effective and affordable medicines, and the benefits of exercise are far beyond control of body weight.
The Exercise is Medicine program was launched at 2007 by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association, and the Office of the Surgeon General to mobilize physicians, healthcare professionals and providers, and educators to promote exercise in their practice or activities to prevent, reduce, manage, or treat diseases that impact health and the quality of life.Exercise is the best prescription to prevent dozens of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. Regular exercise boosts good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides and eventually decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases . Evidence shows that regular exercise and weight reduction can prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in high-risk individuals .
Exercise therapy not only prevents diseases, but it is also helpful for treatment of common chronic diseases. Recent studies demonstrate that a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise can reduce the metabolic risk factors in cancer survivors and in hypertensive patients . Furthermore, physical exercise performed in childhood and adolescence prevents the development of diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and arterial hypertension during adulthood .
Exercise is best prescription to prevent depression and anxiety and improve mental health.
Exercise improves depressive symptoms in people with a diagnosis of depression when compared with no control intervention . Exercise has the beneficial effects on brain health by neurogenesis, increasing synaptic plasticity, regulation of growth factors and reduction of peripheral and central risk factors . Furthermore, exercise reduces both markers of inflammation and oxidative stress which involved in neurodegenerative diseases and bipolar disease .
Besides improving physical and mental health, exercise also increases relaxation, improves mood, inspires others and improves quality of life . We all experience stress in daily life and the good news is that regular exercise is the one of best medicines to improve emotional health. Physical inactivity is one of the most important public health problems of 21st century . Worldwide, physical inactivity causes 6% of the global burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% of type II diabetes, and 10% of breast and colon cancer cases .
The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for healthy adults, such as brisk walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging . Everybody needs exercise regardless of age or sex. Let us start today!
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