Exercise is the Best Medicine

It's true what they say, exercise is good for you. The benefits of exercise are far reaching and a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, urges doctors to prescribe exercise as a core treatment for long-term health conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.

Physical activity and public health is an area in which Dr Richard Weiler, Consultant Physician in Sport, Exercise & Musculoskeletal Medicine at the Fortius Clinic, has been working with the Department of Health and NHS. In previous research Dr Weiler that found only half of Britain’s 31 medical schools taught students about current physical activity guidance from the Chief Medical Officer. Five did not include specific teaching on exercise in their undergraduate courses at all, according to his results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Dr Weiler said there was far too much focus on treating, rather than preventing, disease, arguing: “We need to put the health back into the National Health Service.”

So how does exercise make you healthier?

  • Regular workouts lower the risk of heart disease; the heart muscles work more effectively, increasing blood flow through the arteries, leading to a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure which, in turn, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Limits inflammation that can lead to heart attacks
  • Many studies have linked exercise with a lower risk of developing certain cancers
  • May prevent and even reverse diabetes
  • Can increase and maintain bone mass meaning less chance of developing osteoporosis in later life
  • Regular exercise strengthens muscles and can be key to maintaining a healthy weight, both of which are key factors in keeping your joints health

Lay the foundations early

Making exercise a key part of your life is essential and, as with most things, the earlier you adopt that strategy, the easier it is to continue it throughout life and the sooner you'll reap the benefits. Dr Weiler, has written widely on the importance of exercise for all ages, including an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine entitled 'The need for a physical activity strategy for children'.

“Physical education, games and sport for children have a demonstrable positive impact on physical health, and affective, social and cognitive function. Furthermore, physical activity habits in childhood seem to determine, in part, adult physical activity behaviour which is a key determinant of adult health.”

Yet, data shows that half of boys and two-thirds of girls aged 4 to 15 aren't meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required for basic health benefits. As Dr Weiler warns, experts have predicted that unless this is addressed today's children will be the first generation in modern times to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

To find out more, get in touch with Fortius Clinic by calling 020 3195 2442 or alternatively email info@fortiusclinic.com.