Your Exercise Prescription: A Powerful Medication

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Chances are if you have led a sedentary lifestyle, you are very likely to have conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis. Years of being a “couch potato” have taken their toll on your joints, muscles and cardiovascular system. It is also likely that you report a lack of energy or even depression, if you do not participate in a regular exercise program.

It is also very probable that you take (or will be taking) some medications to control your heart disease, diabetes or arthritis pain. Unfortunately, in our current health care system, these medications can cost a lot of money that comes right out of your pocket in some cases.

As a health care professional, I have always been in awe of the effects of exercise on the body. It can lower blood pressure, increase glucose control and event prevent or delay arthritis. It also wards off weight gain, joint pain and some cancers. If performed regularly, it also increases your energy levels and leads to higher levels of self-esteem, confidence and well being.

Best of all, exercise is free, unlike the medications you may be taking that produce the same effect. Last I checked, it did not cost anything to take a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood or local mall. There is not one pill in existence that can produce all the benefits of exercise from lowering blood pressure to increasing energy levels to preventing pain.

After years of observation and studying the effects of exercise, it seems to me that we ought to treat exercise as a powerful medicine. I regularly give my patients exercise prescriptions so that they can begin to incorporate exercise no matter what level they are starting at. Many of them report back to me that they are able to decrease or even stop taking some or all of their medications because they have added regular exercise. (Always take medications as directed. Do not stop taking any medication unless directed to do so by your health care provider.)

Thinking of exercise as medication also assigns more importance to it. You would not skip your medication because you did not feel like it or because you were too busy. Make exercise as important as taking medication. Your body – and your wallet – will thank you for it.

copyright 2006 Jennifer D. Wetmore, DPT

To find out how to make exercise a part of your life please visit [http://www.LifeHealthPT.com] for more information.

Jennifer D. Wetmore, DPT has been involved in the field of health and fitness for over a decade, working with a range of clients and patients from health clubs to hospitals, in positions such as group fitness instructor, personal trainer and physical therapist. Dr. Wetmore is president of LifeHealth Physical Therapy and author of “Small Changes, Big Results: The Health and Fitness Manual with the Secrets to Working Smarter, Not Harder.”

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