It’s probably no big newsflash to you that exercise and diet are required for proper health. You should also make sure you stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. And since everyone is physically unique, the health tips and tricks that work for one individual may not work for you. However, it has been universally shown that exercise can actually treat medical conditions, aside from making you feel good and helping you maintain a healthy body weight.
In many cases, exercise can more effectively treat certain physical conditions and ailments than medications. The problem is that drug companies do not make any money off of you when you exercise and stay in shape. That is why they spend so much money on advertising their pills and medications. You are told to simply pop a pill to cure what ails you, but this is not always the best advice.
Let’s take a look at some dangerous and even deadly conditions that are treated equally or even more effectively by exercise than medication.
Medical Conditions Treatable with Exercise
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a killer. But fortunately, the Mayo Clinic and other respected health organizations believe that high blood pressure is often associated with lack of exercise. You can make small changes in your daily routine that can deliver a huge difference in your life where your blood pressure is concerned. This is because regular exercise makes your heart stronger.
When your heart is healthier, it is capable of pumping more blood with little effort. When your heart does not have to work as hard to do its job, the lowered force on your arteries decreases your risk for arterial problems, and your blood pressure lowers. Regular exercise can help lower your systolic blood pressure (your blood pressure top number) by as many as 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury. That is in many cases a more effective treatment than popular blood pressure medications.
Combining a regular cardiovascular routine with strength training has been shown to effectively lower cholesterol levels. Adding a healthy diet can deliver even more benefits to your cholesterol level, but exercise is great in this respect all by itself. The “cholesterol exercise” link has not always been evident to medical experts. Doctors knew that there was a correlation, but they just were not sure how it worked.
Doctor Amit Khera is the director of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Program in Preventive Cardiology. He stated that it is now clear that exercising can lower your cholesterol by helping you lose weight, and by maintaining your natural body weight. This lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood, as well as your cholesterol.
Regular exercise is excellent for increasing bone density and strength. That is great news, because osteoporosis is unfortunately very common. This disease weakens your bones by making them more porous. Frequently a sign of aging, osteoporosis can be combated effectively with weight training and resistance exercises.
Flexibility exercising is also recommended. By building muscle and endurance, and improving your range of motion, exercises as simple as dancing, hiking and climbing the stairs can help improve your bone density and health.
Type II Diabetes
In many cases a combination of proper diet and physical fitness can totally eliminate Type II Diabetes. That’s right, not only an effective treatment for diabetes, exercise and proper nutrition can actually remove this debilitating disease from your life. And exercise by itself, as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, can show immediate improvement as a treatment of diabetes. This is because exercise effectively regulates your blood glucose level.
As you know, monitoring your blood sugar level is extremely important if you suffer from any form of diabetes. Exercise builds muscle, and muscles use glucose without insulin necessary. So if you are either insulin resistant or simply do not manufacture enough insulin, exercising delivers glucose to your muscles and your blood glucose level drops. Start exercising 5 times a week to effectively treat your Type II Diabetes symptoms.
If you suffer from the “blues” and “blahs”, you are about to receive some incredible news. Multiple studies have proven conclusively that exercise is actually the most effective way to treat depression. It is more efficient at treating depression in men and women, children and adults, than any known antidepressant which is currently marketed.
And just like the recommendation for treating Type II Diabetes, you really only need 20 or 30 minutes of physical exertion about 5 times a week. WebMD says that exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. They also limit your perception of pain. And continued exercise helps you lose weight, burn fat and get in shape, which makes you feel better about your body and yourself.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain and fatigue. For sufferers of this debilitating condition, exercise is often the last thing on their mind. But the simple physical exertion that is delivered through stretching, swimming, tai chi or yoga can actually reduce the amount of pain that your fibromyalgia delivers.
Exercise also restores your body’s neurochemical balance and creates a positive mental state. For most fibromyalgia sufferers, aerobic, strengthening, and range of motion exercises are safe and effective for treating the pain their condition often creates.
Proper diet can definitely help prevent heart disease. But a recent statement released by the Council on Clinical Cardiology Subcommittee on Exercise, Rehabilitation, and Prevention, in conjunction with the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism, shows exercise plays an important part as well. The research those groups conducted recommends you to practice regular physical activities which use large muscle groups. This could include walking, jogging, running and swimming.
The promotion of skeletal muscle strength and endurance that these exercises provide also reduces symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. As we discussed earlier with high blood pressure, the stronger your heart is, the more effectively it can combat disease. Regular exercise that is aerobic in nature decreases your risk of heart failure, increases your energy levels, and improves your circulation so your body can get plenty of oxygen. All of these benefits mean that your heart does not have to work as hard to do its job, and this helps lower your risk of heart disease.
Cold and Flu
Keeping colds and flus at bay is often as simple as proper diet and exercise. Adding just 20 or 30 minutes of regularly repeated physical activity 5 days a week can help cut down the length of time that you have a flu or cold, after you contract one. And it also lessens the likelihood that you will catch a flu or cold in the first place by promoting overall body health, both inside and out.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America knows a thing or two about stress and anxiety. Their number one tip for treating anxious and stressed out individuals? Exercise. Aside from improving your physical condition and helping your body fight disease and aging, exercise is recommended by the ADAA as an effective treatment for anxiety and stress.
When you exercise, your heart begins pumping blood and valuable oxygen throughout your body at an accelerated rate. This reduces fatigue and improves concentration and alertness. Your mental functioning actually improves, and your pain threshold is raised. Receptors in your brain actually make you feel better, and natural painkillers are released. This even improves your ability to sleep, which is a proven stress and anxiety combatant. Aerobic exercise is the best at fighting anxiety and alleviating tension, while also improving your self-esteem.
The word arthritis is literally translated as “joint inflammation”. However, it is used to refer to the dozens of rheumatic diseases and related ailments that cause stiffness, swelling and pain in your joints and connective tissues. And doctors have known for decades that the correct exercises can effectively treat the pains and fatigue that arthritis delivers as effectively as medication.
Arthritis drastically reduces your range of motion, especially in your joints. Exercise helps improve joint mobility and muscle strength, as well as overall physical conditioning. Range of motion exercises, those involving stretching and flexibility like yoga and Pilates, effectively help your body returned to normal joint functioning. This also helps preserve your flexibility and mobility.
Aquatherapy (exercising in water) can help treat the symptoms of arthritis, while taking weight off of the affected areas. You should also ask your doctor about isotonic exercises, which use repeated, lightweight resistance and small weights or stretch bands as an effective arthritis treatment.
And There’s More…
This is just a top 10 list of health condition you can treat effectively with exercise. But there are more ailments and illnesses that exercise can help you avoid, like chronic back pain, neck and shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis, obesity and many others. The list goes on and on.
Make sure you speak with your doctor before making any dramatic change in your physical activity. And do not cut off any medically described medicinal treatment without consulting your physician either.
Because of the billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, you may have been taking some particular field or chemical treatment for years. If your doctor believes it is healthy for you to cut back or even eliminate that dosage, you may have another issue, chemical dependency. Not only does breaking your dependency on drugs make you feel great, it also puts some money back in your purse or pocket.
Exercise on a regular basis so you can keep chronic and dangerous physical conditions and illnesses at bay, and you will find your quality of life improved, as well as the amount of money in your checking account.