HAY THE ID IS 7003!

By Ellen Thornburg Ellen Thornburg is an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer at the Duke Center for Living at Fearrington. She received her BA in Exercise and Sports Science and Psychology from UNC.

If You Only Do One Thing For Your Health

By Ellen Thornburg Posted April 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm

…Exercise!

Our society is plagued with diabetes, hypertension, cancer, arthritis, fatigue, depression, anxiety and excess pounds, to name a few. For those of us who have eaten too much and moved too little for far too long, we’re not pleased with the results. But tackling multiple ailments at once? That’s quite a feat. Where does someone who wants to see change even attempt to begin the process?

Exercise.

I consider this article more of a report on a video that someone so graciously shared with me recently. I already knew the great benefits of regular exercise, and here at the Duke Center for Living at Fearrington we truly believe that exercise is medicine. However, the statistics and research data can be mind-numbingly boring for even the fitness professional, much less the average American in search of real solutions for every day ailments. “23½ Hours” by Dr. Mike Evans is such a simple, yet captivating, summary of this notion that there really is one single and simple solution for better health, no matter how many ailments or health risk factors you may currently have, and that solution is exercise.

In the video clip above, Dr. Evans refers to exercise as an “intervention”, truly categorizing it as therapy for disease. In the research studies that he analyzed in an attempt to find a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment for patients, he came across the following effects that exercise alone can have:

  • 47% decrease in pain and disability in patients with knee arthritis
  • 50% decrease in dementia and Alzheimer progression
  • 58% decrease in the progression of diabetes
  • 41% reduction in the risk of hip fractures in post-menopausal women
  • 48% reduction in anxiety
  • 30% reduction in depression, but up to 47% reduction in depression with extra time exercising
  • 23% decrease risk of death
  • #1 treatment for fatigue
  • Universal response: “improvement of quality of life”


These effects, among many, many others discovered through vast quantities of research studies, are all the result of simply 30 minutes per day, possibly one hour. And we are not talking high intensity interval training, boot camp workouts with a personal trainer, or hours in indoor cycling classes. Most of these studies are based solely on walking. That’s it, plain and simple, walking for 30 minutes per day. Can this news get any better? I’m glad you asked, because yes, it can! Those 30 whole minutes do not even need to be consecutive minutes! If a hectic schedule means breaking it down into two 15 minute walks or three 10 minute walks, then you still get credit for the day.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Like the magic pills and special gimmicks on Saturday morning television? I like writing about simple solutions because people “get” simple. People can “do” simple. A solution that addresses innumerable conditions cannot be found on a shelf, infomercial programming or in a bottle in pill, tablet or chewable form. This solution comes from within, a drive to just get up and move a little more today than yesterday. This solution comes from limiting the sitting, sleeping, working, eating, shopping, television surfing, reading and caring for children, significant others and parents to a mere 23 and a half hours per day and allowing yourself a whooping 30 minutes to give your body something it needs and even craves.

Take advantage of this gorgeous spring weather and take a lap or two around the block. Your body will thank you!

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