Mood Movement Wellness

Wellness Prescription–Using Exercise as Medicine

De-conditioning or lack of exercise is at the core of 23% of chronic disease. Just doing the first thing to get off the couch results in the greatest health benefits. That initial phase of increased activity from the sedentary state (getting up) is the steepest part of the curve. Exercise health benefits are huge and everybody knows it. Most importantly, they include improvement in mood and brain health.

Regular exercise reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s 30%. It is also the most important protective effect in preventing Alzheimer’s dementia. Moderate exercise lowers the risk of dementia even into the 8th decade of life!

Exercise is the best holistic treatment for depression and anxiety. Patients treated with exercise are less likely to have relapses than those treated with medication. Exercise boosts brain blood flow and serotonin production. Exercise has been repeatedly shown to be as effective as anti-depressant medication in the treatment of depression. The antidepressant effect of exercise is often more enduring than that of antidepressant medication.

Research shows modest exercise, like walking daily, decreased heart disease deaths by 50% in both men and women. Exercise lowers blood pressure, decreases blood & platelet stickiness and reduces stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system activity. Physical activity helps overcome all coronary risk factors (except heredity), including smoking and excess clotting. Heart patients who briskly walk one half hour per day reduced their risk 18% for repeat heart attacks both fatal and nonfatal. Increased “good” cholesterol HDL is women stair climbing 16 minutes per day.

No drugs holds as much promise as physical exercise for slowing aging effects. The 12 year risk of dying from all causes was reduced by about 50% in people age 61-81 years walking > 2 miles/day as compared to those walking < 1 mile/day. A balance complete exercise program includes the following:
– Stretching 2-3 times per week using all major muscles groups.
– Sustained stretching 2 or more times per week with addition of balance training.
Resistance Exercise:
– Maintains muscular strength (tone) with 6-15 repetitions of all major muscle groups.
– Training 2 or more times per week with 48 to 72 hours between workouts.
Aerobic Exercise:
– Moderate intensity – 5 times/week 30 minutes or vigorous intensity – 3 times/week 20 minutes. Moderate exercise with varying bursts of intensity as little as two minutes.

Of all things known about exercise, please remember this: fatigue really is exercise deficiency…most of the time.

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