You have probably heard many times about the benefits of exercise for improving your health and even reversing many existing health conditions. Food is information for our body, and exercise is a medicine for both healing and prevention. Understanding how to use this can be hugely beneficial, whatever you want to improve.
We all know that the only thing that we can really control is what we are doing on a daily basis. We are responsible for taking care of our body and mind, and I don’t need to tell you that doing regular activity is helpful for both. But do you know how to use exercise as medicine? If you have any health issues then likely your doctor will give you medication and hopefully tell you detailed and clear instructions on how and how long you need to take it. Imagine now that your doctor, instead of giving medication, were to tell you which exercise you need to do, how long you need to do it for, how high or low the intensity should be, and even explain the correct form too. This would be my dream, at least for most health conditions! Here are some examples of how you can effectively use exercise as medicine.
High blood pressure has multiple causes, such as chronically high blood sugar, being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and sleep apnea. Losing excessive weight and improving blood circulation is crucial, so a light to moderate intensity walk for 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times a week, can help improve your condition and also burn extra calories as a bonus too. In addition, performing daily stretching and mobility exercises — which will take no more than 10 minutes — for 6 to 8 weeks will probably give you huge improvements. Not doing something to help improve high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart conditions, vision loss and stroke.
Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by lifestyle choices. There are exceptions, however a stressful lifestyle, being overweight and making wrong food choices for your body type will probably aggravate the risk. Of course all disease is connected, with a good reason — we have just one body and everything in it is connected to everything else. If type 2 diabetes is not treated correctly and fast then it can cause health complications such as kidney disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and many more. It will decrease your life expectancy and most importantly your quality of life.
10 minutes walk, or other similar movement, after each main meal can be a huge help in lowering blood sugar to healthy levels. Also consuming smaller meals is beneficial, so you can split large high carbohydrate meals in two. Ideally walk or perform similar movement for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, and 7 days a week. Yes — ideally do this every single day and you will be surprised at the results. Of course if walking is not suitable for you then you can use a stationary bike or just do any movement in your home such as standing and marching your legs, sitting in a chair and standing up again, swinging your legs and arms. Just keep your body as active as possible.
Especially after the pandemic unfortunately we started hearing more and more that people are struggling with anxiety and mental health problems. Many studies show that exercise is the best remedy and in most cases actually more effective than some medications. Outdoor activities can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and helping with negative moods and cognitive function. Spending time outside playing games, joining group activities, walking in the park or trails at least 4 to 5 times a week can help tremendously. Depending how much time you have, more is better. Also of course it depends on where you live but getting as much sunshine as you can will help improve your mood as well.
You may think that these are very simple prescriptions, and they are, however just like the medications that your doctor prescribes you need to take it seriously and get your daily exercise dose to see results. Of course, please don’t wait until you lose your health before you start.
“Health Threats from High Blood Pressure”. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure
AARP. “12 Surprising Things That Can Raise Your Blood Pressure”. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2022/surprising-causes-high-blood-pressure.html
Mayo Clinic. “Type 2 diabetes”. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193
PubMed. “Exercise for Mental Health”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/