Philosopher Plato (427–347 BC) said - 'The lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise saves and preserves it’ source
Exercise is perhaps the greatest physiological stress that our bodies can experience. For example, during maximal endurance exercise, an elite athlete's cardiac output can increase up to 8 times with the working muscles receiving up to 21 times more blood each minute than when at rest! source Given the physiological stresses that are associated with exercising and the adaptations that your body makes to handle this level of stress, it is not surprising that exercise training is known to prevent or effectively treat a multitude of degenerative conditions.
Exercise is perhaps the greatest drug any of us could take. Research has undoubtedly shown exercise to ....
REDUCE cardiovascular disease, cancers, joint disease and depression source
PREVENT diabetes, alzheimers, and parkinsons source
REDUCe the relative risk of death in individuals who exercise by 25-35% source
HELP PREVENT AND TREAT CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD), HYPERTENSION, INTERMITTENT CLAUDICATION, RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, FIBROMYALGIA, CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND OSTEOPOROSIS SOURCE
INACTIVITY increases cancer-related mortality by 25% when compared with physically active people source
Inactivity leads to muscle weakness, joint stiffness and a loss of bone mass. Bed rest has been shown to reduce muscle mass by 12% a week with almost half of normal muscle strength being lost with 3-5 weeks of bed rest source. Disuse of muscles not only results in physical wasting but also in the loss of your brain's ability to electrically coordinate and activate your muscles properly (neuromuscluar control) source
Perhaps the best way to really demonstrate this point is to compare the MRI scans of a 40 year triathlete with those of a 70 year old triathlete and a 70 year old sedentary person as pictured below ...source
Hopefully reading this will encourage you to stay as active and as healthy as possible. When it comes to prescribing drugs, there are many things we need to consider. There are certain drugs that suit certain people. This is exactly the same with exercise. We know that certain types of exercise helps different chronic pain presentations (see previous 'blog exercise reduces pain'). However, we must consider the dosage of exercise in terms of its type, volume undertaken, the intensity you undertake it at and the understanding of the context of exercising with those individuals who suffer from conditions, diseases or who may be injured. This is something that all of our specialist physiotherapists at Consortium are trained to understand and advise you on if needed.
Thanks for reading