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  • What muscle soreness really means
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  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
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Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
This Month In Body
  • Doctor’s Orders: More Exercise
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Health and Fitness News

Doctor’s Orders: More Exercise

Could exercise be as good as medicine at treating certain health conditions?

It’s easy to underestimate the powerful effect exercise has on health. The perk of weight loss may be your only motivation to exercise, but it may overshadow the multiple other ways exercise is good for you. Countless people take prescription drugs for health conditions that may be treated with a daily dose of exercise. Why should this get you excited? Because if you’re one of them, you could cut pills out of your life and avoid the cost and potential side effects of medication.

Before starting a new medication, it may be worth giving exercise a try. Of course, you’ll want to consult your doctor before stopping any prescription drugs. But if you’re tired of popping pills for health management, here are just a few conditions that may be controlled through diet and exercise.

Heart Disease

Heart disease covers a variety of heart problems. From heart attack, heart rhythm problems, and heart valve problems to heart defects and blood vessel disease, heart disease is the number one cause of death, worldwide. Want a great way to battle it? Exercise. With regular exercise, you can prevent it from setting in or keep it from worsening. Exercise does this by increasing oxygen circulation, preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries, lowering blood pressure, and strengthening the heart muscle. Have you been diagnosed with borderline high blood pressure or suffered a heart attack? Talk with your doctor about how exercise can benefit your heart.

Diabetes

Diabetes is marked by high blood sugar levels. With exercise, you can get your blood sugar under control. A highly effective way of managing blood sugar levels, exercise is a great way to prevent diabetes complications. It does this by increasing the body’s sensitivity to the effects of insulin, the hormone that works to control blood sugar levels. The weight loss effects of exercise also help diabetics manage their blood sugar.

Arthritis

Stiff, achy joints that characterize arthritis may make you want to sit still. However, the pain can be relieved with exercise. You may not feel like moving around, but it’s one of the best ways to reduce pain, ease stiffness, increase range of motion, and improve the quality of life for those with arthritis. To lessen pressure on your joints, choose strength training or low-impact exercises. Better yet, get in the pool and swim or walk laps.

Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints heard by doctors. In many cases, back pain can be relieved by simple strengthening and stretching exercises. Strong back and core muscles help improve posture, increase flexibility, and relieve tension. Try a 10-minute daily routine of back and core exercises, and see if your pain subsides.

Depression

Exercise doesn’t just benefit your arteries, back, and other body parts. It’s also good for your mental health. Studies show exercise may be as effective as antidepressant medication for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Endorphins, also known as feel-good hormones, get released when you exercise. These help improve your mood and outlook on life. Being active is also a great way to distract your mind from negative thoughts, boost your confidence, and manage stress.

Dementia

Struggling to remember where you left your keys, your neighbor’s name, or what you did yesterday? Dementia and forgetfulness can be improved with regular exercise. As the brain ages, certain areas may deteriorate, leading to symptoms of dementia. Physical activity increases the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the brain, which improves cognitive function. Exercise also helps lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which negatively affect brain health.