A new medical report came out this week, looking at the link between exercise and your health. It has some really important points on overall health and exercise, so I thought I would distil the pertinent points. The report is one of those typical pain in the butt medical articles with a really short and punchy title as follows: Physical activity prescription: a critical opportunity to address a modifiable risk factor for the prevention and management of chronic disease: a position statement by the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine. As I said, it just rolls off the tongue. I am going to break the central points up into a series of bullet points that will hopefully inspire you to swim – bike – run, or whatever it is that you do, more.
So, let’s try and break this down into understandable terms. The research team looked at non-communicable diseases – diseases that we can’t pass onto each other. These are illnesses that your body comes up with all by itself.
- The team say that you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate to rigorous physical activity per week.
They found that 4 out of 5 Canadians miss this mark. (I would imagine that we are no more or less energetic that our Canadian friends).
They raise the point that there are at least 30 chronic diseases that would benefit from regular exercise. Here is a broad list. Psychiatric issues: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Schizophrenia. Neurological issues: Dementia, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, Metabolic issues: Obesity, Hyperlipidemia, Metabolic Syndrome – Insulin resistant syndrome, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, Cardiovascular issues: Cerebral Apoplexy – Stroke, Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Intermittent Claudication – Arterial insufficiency in the lower limb. Pulmonary issues: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Bronchial Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular – Skeletal Disorders: Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Back Pain, Bechterew’s disease – Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatic Arthritis, Cancer.
- The article points out that physicians play a really important role. Most people trust their doctors, and would take their advice with regard to training, however, according to the researchers, most doctors don’t give any exercise advice. The above list is complex and with most of the diseases mentioned you would do well to get expert advice regarding training.
The article lays blame at many of the medical schools that don’t lay enough emphasis on exercise.
It is believed that Canada could save +/- 2.1 billion dollars a year if doctors would just get their patents exercising.
It was found that most people on an exercise program tend to drop off after a year. This is where community support is vital.
It was found that the use of pedometers, smart phones and various tracking devices help motivate people to move more.
Here are a few of my closing thoughts. – Well done to medical aids such as Discovery for thinking out the box and actually encouraging people to become more active.
- Well done to movements such as Run/Walk for Life in that they give people from all levels of fitness the ability to get moving in a supportive environment.
- Well done to Doctors who prescribe movement and are not just purveyors of more and more tablets.
Download an app such as Strava or Endomondo to track your movement. Buy a Fitbit. Do what it takes to keep track of your levels of exercise. The technology is here: you might as well use it.
– I would encourage you to go to a doctor who is fit. A doctor who has discovered the benefits of exercise is far more likely to get you going yourself. I think it’s a good idea to ask your doc if he/she thinks you can exercise with your condition. You are letting your doctor off too lightly if all he/she does is scribble out a script.
- I remember reading a story a while back about ancient Chinese medicine. It went as follows; in China, there were communities where you paid your Doctor on a monthly basis to keep you healthy. If you became sick you would stop paying him until he had helped you back to full health again. The motivation on the doctor’s side was to have you healthy instead of making money off you when you were ill. Any innovation in health that moves toward such a model is to be encouraged.
Please don’t get all stupid after reading this and stop with all your meds – I really don’t feel like getting sued. Chat to your doctor and find out if exercise would benefit you, and if you get the green light, then start up a regular & structured program.
1 Holmes MD, Chen WY, Feskanich D, et al. Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. JAMA 2005;293:2479–86. doi:10.1001/jama.293.20.2479
2 Slattery ML, Potter JD. Physical activity and colon cancer: confounding or interaction? Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002;34:913–19. doi:10.1097/00005768-200206000-00002
3 Wei M, Gibbons LW, Mitchell TL, et al. The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and impaired fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus in men. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:89–96. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-130-2-199901190-00002
4 Pedersen BK, Saltin B. Exercise as medicine—evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2015;25(Suppl 3):1–72. doi:10.1111/sms.12581
5 Professional Associations for Physical Activity—Swedish National Institute of Public Health. Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease. 2010. http://www.fyss.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/fyss_2010_english.pdf (accessed 22 Mar 2016).
Here is the link to the full article – http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2016/06/22/bjsports-2016-096291