Today’s article talks about the Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative, their website can be found at www.exerciseismedicine.org
If you were to survey a few of your friends about why they exercise, you’d probably hear the standard reasons such as wanting to lose weight, get stronger, or just to get back in shape and have more energy. You probably won’t hear much along the lines or preventing heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass.
It is widely known that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but what you may not know is that exercise also serves to protect and prevent the body and mind from a myriad of physical and psychological issues.
EIM views physical activity of a way of preventing disease and illness before it starts, with empirical data to back it up. As our society advances and technology replaces manual labor, this leads to a reduction in the amount of physical activity performed on a daily basis. For many, a typical workday consists of sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, with the only activity coming in the form of walking around the office. This coupled with the everyday activities of taking the kids to practice, making dinner and running errands has led to what is now being referred to as an “inactivity epidemic.” This places a tremendous burden not only on our health, but the economy as well.
• According to the World Health Organization, lack of physical activity is the 4th leading cause of death globally, with roughly 3.3 million attributable deaths per year
• 56% of adults do not meet the recommendations set forth in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines
• A 2008 study shows that physical inactivity costs the U.S. Health Care System 102 billion dollars annually
This is precisely why the EIM movement was started. With the goal to educate and inform everyone, especially health care providers and those in the fitness industry, about the many long-term benefits of regular exercise. Here are a few facts you might not know about how exercise can prevent illness:
• Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of recurrent breast cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, hypertension, type II diabetes as well as act as an effective treatment for depression
• A low level of fitness is a bigger risk factor for mortality than mild to moderate obesity. It is better to be fit and overweight than sedentary and at a normal weight
• Low levels of physical activity increases the risk of mortality more than smoking, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol
As you can see, the effects of regular exercise go far beyond just your appearance, and when made a part of your lifestyle, can help prevent many types of disease and ailments associated with physical inactivity.
Good News: It’s Never Too Late To Start.
You might be saying to yourself that this doesn’t apply because you think it’s too late to start.
Even if you’ve been inactive for a period of many years, you too can still reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, exercise for older adults can help combat many of the natural aging processes that seniors suffer from. Sarcopenia (the natural loss of muscle mass due to aging) and osteoporosis are two of the more prominent issues for seniors. While you cannot totally prevent the loss of muscle and bone mass, you can slow it down considerably through regular physical activity.
This leads to not only better health, but a greater quality of life as well by helping to maintain independence.