Exercise is most definitely medicine. A simple exercise routine for general health benefits can have the same effects as blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, anti-depressant medication, and anti-anxiety medication just to generally name a few.
If there was one thing that doctors could prescribe that would reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart desease, and stroke that would take the place of a whole list of medication would you consider it medicine? Yes, and that one thing, that one magic prescription, is exercise.
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.
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 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.