Are you looking for an all-natural, environment-friendly alternative to your medication to control blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar? Or one that is relatively inexpensive with very few side effects? An almost forgotten medicine, one that our pre-Industrial Revolution ancestors took in relatively large doses as they conquered life's hardships, will be finding its way onto your physician's prescription pad as the #1 "drug" of choice. What is this wonder medication? Exercise - nature's medicine. Pure and simple.
A nationwide initiative, "Exercise is Medicine," launched by the American College of Sports Medicine in conjunction with the American Medical Association, is underway. This campaign is devoted to making it a standard practice that your physician review your current level of physical activity, provide counseling on exercise, and/or refer you to a certified health and fitness specialist for an appropriate exercise program meeting your needs.
The premise of this movement is that exercise really is medicine. Scientific evidence has shown that increasing your physical activity level effectively treats and prevents many chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer (colon and breast). For a list of exercise-related health benefits, view my March 5, 2009 posting "Why Exercise."
Implementing exercise as a first line treatment choice will not only improve public health in general, but has a potentially significant economic impact as it could result in dramatic decreases in long-term health care costs. Below is a comparison of the cost of exercise versus the cost of physical inactivity.
Cost of Exercise for One Year:*
Total cost of exercise for one year:
- Pair of running/walking shoes - $90.00
- Exercise shorts - $36.00
- Exercise top - $30.00
- Exercise socks - $8.50
- Dirt road - free
Cost of Physical Inactivity for One Year:*
- Cholesterol medication (simvastatin) - $336.00/year ($28.00/month)
- Triglyceride-lowering medication (fenofibrate) - $780.00/year ($65.00/month)
- Blood pressure medication (lisinopril) - $156.00/year ($13.00/month)
- Blood sugar medication (metformin) - $228.00/year ($19.00/month)
- Co-pay for sick visit at doctor's office - $20.00/visit
*Values are estimates. Actual values will vary based on type and brand of product and prescribed dosage.
To learn more about the "Exercise is Medicine" initiative and how you and/or your physician can get involved visit www.exerciseismedicine.org
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
Labels: Exercise is Medicine