Today, we rely on pharmaceuticals to help us with both physical and mental issues. Have a sinus headache? Run to the local pharmacy for an over-the-counter solution. Maybe you have ADHD and take a tablet daily to help you through the day. Depression is another mental issue that can be solved with a substance to help balance out our chemicals. But what if there is more to medicine than a pill that can be bought or prescribed? If there was a way to avoid exposure to substance consumption, would you take it? Exercise may be the most underestimated and unappreciated medicinal experiences we have. Physical activity can treat many ailments and even help prevent illnesses that we suffer from. Our bodies are constantly working day and night to sustain us. Lungs give us oxygen, hearts pump blood, all without even being told to. The many different health benefits of exercise keep those things working well without requiring a prescription.
One in every ten Americans relies on an antidepressant every day. That means, more than likely, you meet someone with depression every single day. Exercise has been proven time and time again to enhance our well-being. In fact, recent studies done by the Mayo Clinic have shown that routine physical activity can release cannabis-like endorphins that make us feel good. This is why some doctors will have you try to exercise first before putting you on a pill.
If asked, most people would say they workout because they want to love what they see when standing in front of a mirror, naked. There is nothing wrong with loving the way your body looks. Especially if you put in the work to get your body to look a certain way. However, everyone has a different body type. Never compare your body to someone else’s.
Still, being fit is healthy and carrying around extra weight is harmful to our joints, hearts, and lungs. An added bonus to all of the health benefits of exercise is emotional well-being. When we look good, we feel good and no pill can give you that type of good feeling.
“We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for your health-even modest amounts can add years to your life,” says I-Min Lee, M.D., and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Professionals in the medical field will always recommend physical activity and a study done by the National Health Institute agrees. During the study, 650,000 Americans gave data. Those who spent 5 hours a week performing moderate physical activity saw a 4.2 lifespan increase. Another study done by the American Medical Association showed that an average of 40 minutes of physical activity, 3-4 times a week can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.
We all experience pain and at different levels, pain is just part of life. There are pills to solve the common pain problem and even the less common but they come with risks. Exercise, however, could help as a preventive measure. Evidence has shown that physical activity can increase our pain tolerance. A study that involved 24 individuals, by researchers at the University of New South Wales, suggested that exercise increased pain tolerance. Half of the group was asked to work out routinely for 6 weeks, the other half went on as normal. Before the study, everyone involved had their pain threshold tested. At the end of the study, those who worked out had a significant increase in pain tolerance versus those who didn’t.
Back and joint pain are the most common pains experienced. Maybe the pain comes from a former injury or maybe it comes from too much activity. No matter where the pain comes from, we use pharmaceuticals to solve the issue. However, exercise can be the solution you need, even with a previous injury. Always consult with your doctor before you start any physical activity with a previous injury, but more than likely they will allow it. Some good activity for previous injuries include things like stretching, walking, swimming, or even weight lifting. Think about it this way, if you leave your car parked in the garage and never drive it, the insides get rusted and may even stop working. Nathan Wei, M.D., and rheumatologist says keeping our joints moving and grooving, helps reduce inflammation and strengthen muscles around the joints.
Once a cold or flu is caught, rest is needed and recommended by almost every doctor. But what if there is a way to avoid catching those bugs in the first place? One of the many health benefits of exercise is that our immune system keeps working in tip-top shape. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests just that. Our white blood cells circulate faster when we workout. As they circulate, those white blood cells will detect any illness faster. On the same hand, exercise will lower stress levels, keeping us healthier. The theory is clear, working out regularly will help you miss that cold that’s going around.