Exercise, like laughter, is often described as the best medicine. And just like any medicine, there are important considerations we must take into account when prescribing what to do, how to do it, for how long, etc..
1) The value and effect of exercise is dose-dependent i.e, more is not always better; however, not enough or none will guarantee little to no positive outcomes.
2) The type of exercise prescribed must fit the specific criteria of your client and for the condition (s) we seek to improve i.e., running is a fantastic exercise, but not necessarily if your client’s goal is to “slow down” from a frantic day.
3) The variety of physical, physiological, hormonal responses that are triggered when a person exercises makes it critical to know about a person’s health history, including: medication, supplements, allergies, injuries, diet, etc..
4) This prescription is for life, so all reactions must be monitored regularly and carefully; modifications and alterations should be the norm.
5) The timing of exercise, ideally, fits with the person’s natural rhythms…if not, at least scheduled for a time where obstacles and/or disruptions are minimal.
Final thought: A person’s commitment to a regular exercise regime is, in fact, a promise to strive for a healthy and happy life. Not everybody is lucky enough to experience the endorphin-high during or after their workout; for others it’s just one more bitter pill to swallow. The best gift we can give our clients is the reminder of their personal power and potential, and that so much of that can be achieved through exercise.
Exercise has so many benefits and serves as a natural pathetic option. One of the best approaches for people dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress is to use exercise as an adjunct to any other forms of treatment that might be necessary. However the workout environment needs to be fun, have consistency, non competitive and the workouts should have activities that are personally satisfying and enjoyable.
Not only is exercise beneficial to mental health, it is also more cost effective than therapy, and is associated with numerous other positive health benefits such as managing your weight, combating chronic disease, increasing your energy, and can help you sleep better.
I believe that healing can only occur from within. Ultimately, there is not another person, whether doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or any of the alternative medical practitioners, who can heal.
However, all of those in the so-called healing professions can create a more favorable environment in which self-healing can occur.
Any modality that brings the body into a more aligned or better status can create such environment. Exercise is clearly among those modalities, and it is therefore appropriate to call exercise medicine.
However, whether exercise creates a better or worse environment is dose-dependent. A little goes a long way, and more is not always better. We all know of people who exercise so compulsively that they are creating a negative internal environment, and rather than improving their health, they are compromising it.
Exercise is medicine because it can lower blood lipid levels, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. It can raise HDL and lower LDL. It can make the heart a more effective pump. It can help us retain or develop muscle mass as we age, and increase bone density. It can relieve arthritic pain and decrease lower back pain. It can give us increased energy and help us sleep better. It also has a positive effect on our emotional management of stress.
Exercise is preventative and can also be a treatment. When used in the proper dose exercise can do wonders to improve quality of life and longevity, all naturally.