Monday, July 26, 2010

Exercise is Medicine

If your doctor were to tell you that you needed to go home and start an exercise routine, would you do it? Would you keep doing it?

If your doctor handed you a prescription for a medication that you needed in order to manage a disease or control a health problem, would you fill it and take it? Would you keep taking it?

These are serious questions to ask yourself. Most of us would fill a prescription given to us by our doctor, especially if it were to control a problem that we were having noticeable symptoms from. However, if your doctor prescribed exercise because it would have the same effect as a pill, if not a better effect with fewer side effects, would you take him or her seriously?

The truth is, exercise is truly medicine and its about time doctors start using their prescription pad to dole out this powerful medicine. While I was working on my MS degree in Exercise Science, I was continuously wowed by the power of exercise. Obviously I was already a believer, or I wouldn't have been there. However, it is just amazing to see the studies proving that exercise can make impacts (depending on the particular population, dose, and severity of the problem) on arthritis, triglycerides, blood pressure, etc that are far more significant than a pill.

On June 17, 2010, the US Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, made a plea that everyone join the Exercise is Medicine initiative. Here is an excerpt from her speech:

As health professionals, we should remember that patients are more likely to change their behavior if they have a meaningful reward -- something more than reaching a certain weight or dress size. The reward has to be something that each person can feel, enjoy, and celebrate. The reward is optimal health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest -- without disease, disability, or lost productivity. I hope you will join the Exercise is Medicine initiative. Together, America can become a Healthy and Fit Nation.

Please take this as food for thought and consider the importance of your exercise! Hold your exercise to the same importance as your morning and evening pills!

Motivational Monday:
I exercise because it allows me to take a lower dose of my medication!


  1. Thanks for this post. It's really just what I needed!

  2. And this prescription is free to get filled too. It costs absolutely nothing to go for a walk every day. No insurance co-payment required!
    Great post.

  3. PS: It's a 3 legged table: Healthy eating, exercise, and medication. Take one of the legs away and the table falls down.

  4. This is a nice perspective. Of course, it also helps when your physician embodies the exercise they're prescribing. If you physician is overweight, hypertensive, etc., it's easier for patient to blow off the "prescription." "My doctor doesn't exercise, so why should I listen?" Doctors have a responsibility to take care of themselves physically and mentally, otherwise they lessen their impact.

  5. AMEN! Great post...and Busy-Dad-E, that is a very important issue! Doctors need to take care of themselves too!

  6. mrs kristin: That made my day! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed the post!

    Erin'sMom: All excellent points! Exercise is certainly much cheaper than medication and hospital stays!

    Busy-Dad-E: Definitely well said! All medical professionals really need to set a great example. Afer all, doctors, nurses, etc are there to help people and leading by example is one of the most powerful lessons!

    Anonymous: Thank you! I agree!