Everyone should know by now that exercise is essential for good health, but what many people don’t realize is exactly how beneficial it is. Exercise is not only useful for helping you lose weight, maintaining a healthy body weight, and making you feel good but exercise can also help treat many medical conditions - many times more effectively than the medications intended for that specific purpose.
If the effectiveness of exercise to treat chronic disease and conditions was considered and exercise was a pill, it would be the most prescribed medication in the world. However, drug companies don’t make any money promoting free and natural solutions that work better than the medications they’re selling, so you are bombarded with the message “take this pill and call me in the morning”.
Below is a list of the top ten medical conditions that can be treated with exercise as effectively, or more effectively, than medication. Before you ditch your meds for exercise, make sure you talk to your doctor and see if your condition will allow you to do so. If reducing or stopping your meds is an option, then set up a plan with your doctor to make sure you are doing it in a safe, controlled progression.
Medical Conditions Treatable with Exercise
High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure can be treated with a regular cardiovascular exercise routine. Modifying your diet can increase the benefit even more.
- Add a regular cardiovascular and strength training routine to lower cholesterol levels. Modifying your diet can increase the benefit even more; here are some foods that raise "good" HDL cholesterol.
Type II Diabetes
- In some cases, Type II Diabetes can be eliminated altogether with proper diet and exercise. Add 20-30 minutes of regular physical activity of any kind 5 days a week. Modifying your diet can increase the benefit even more.
- Studies have shown that exercise is more effective at treating depression than any antidepressant on the market. Add 20-30 minutes of regular physical activity of any kind 5 days a week.
Prevention of Heart Disease
- Add a regular cardiovascular exercise routine. Modifying your diet can increase the benefit even more.
- Add 20-30 minutes of regular physical activity of any kind 5 days a week for a natural way to cope with anxiety.
- Light resistance training that focuses on a full range of motion is best for treating arthritis pain. The more you move, the better the result.
- Add regular strength training 2-4 days per week to increase bone density and/or prevent the deterioration of bone density (depending on your age). Lifting heaver weights is better.
- Light resistance training such as Tai Chi and Pilates work well for fibromyalgia pain management during a flair up and can reduce the occurrence and intensity of future flair ups. Here are some great options for exercises that help manage fibromyalgia pain
Cold and Flu Prevention
- Add 20-30 minutes of regular physical activity of any kind 5 days a week to shorten and reduce the severity of a flu or cold (and lessen the likelihood of catching them in the first place). Wondering if a cold or flu should keep you away from the gym? Check your symptoms to find out if you should hit the treadmill or the couch.
There are many other health conditions that can be effectively treated with exercise such as plantar fasciitis, chronic back pain, sciatica, neck and shoulder issues, obesity, etc. You should always talk to your doctor before making any changes in physical activity or medication usage, but if they tell you exercise wont work for you, get a second opinion to be sure.
Breaking your dependence on drugs will not only make you feel better, it is also cheaper. Even if your health insurance pays for your medications they will still charge you for them in the way of higher policy rates. By exercising on a regular basis you can effectively ward off chronic health conditions and save yourself a lot of money in the long run, not to mention greatly improve your quality of life.