Why More and More Doctors are Prescribing Exercise
The latest trend in doctor prescriptions has real effects on the body, including hormones, improving blood volume and pain. But there’s no big pharma company behind it. In fact, you don’t even need to go to the drug store to fill the prescription. You can just head outside or download one or two fitness apps. What doctors are now prescribing: exercise.
Many medical ailments are caused by environmental factors, while some are hereditary or even acutely received (meaning that they seemingly come from no where). But many are also the result of an epidemic that we all have control over: in activity. And, sure there are medicines and proper healthcare to fix and treat illness, but prescribing exercise is becoming a main part of treatment
Exercise and all-round physical activity has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of many common diseases and physical ailments. It’s no longer thought as a way to maintain health (both physical and mental). In fact, prescribing exercise can help with three very common health problems. Here’s how:
How exercise can help reduce stress
Stress is a big issue for many, and one in four people say that most of their days are “extremely stressful.” It is an unfortunate, but unavoidable side effect of living a busy and work loaded life that everyone endures from time to time.
However, periodically the stress can be too overbearing. This excessive load can not only be a huge mental and social distraction, it can also lead to actual negative physical responses in the body. Exercise has a positive effect on your neurotransmitters. This in turn produces feel-good hormones that help combat the damage of stress on the body.
Also, the actual act of taking the time out of your day for a workout gives you a sense of satisfaction and completion. It gives you a window of opportunity to take control of the chaos around you and put your hands back at the helm. This alone can lead to a happier and healthier you. Group fitness classes and group training are good ways to be social, stay active and reduce stress.
How prescribing exercise helps with blood pressure
Blood pressure is a complicated health concern because it can be hereditary and/or environmentally induced. But the good news is: high and low blood pressure can both be managed with consistent workouts.
Here’s how: Regular physical activity puts a level of stress on heart muscle tissues. And just like any other muscle, the heart can be trained and strengthened. That can lead to more blood volume pushed per pump of the heart, which makes transporting blood across the body easier on the body. More blood per pump means an easier task for your ticker and potentially being able to lower or even toss your heart meds.
Can prescribing exercise heal back pain?
Talk to any chiropractor or physiotherapist, and they’ll tell you that sitting all day and daily commutes is hard on your spine and hips. And, you guessed it, exercise and physical activity can help remedy that.
This is a simple case of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t use a muscle regularly, it shrinks and stiffens up – which is medical speak for muscle atrophy. Use a muscle regularly with a range of motion, and it grows and supports the rest of the body. It’s all connected, right?
Case and point: your glutes. Sitting on your but all day shrinks and weaken the glutes. It puts strain on your lumbar spine and your hip flexor muscles. They now have to work overtime to compensate for your poor, weak glutes. It’s actually called “dead butt syndrome.”
Do yourself a favour and work your glutes (hello squats!) with exercise and stretch your hips (pigeon pose isn’t just a good Instagram pose) to counter all the sitting you do. This will strengthen your muscles and give your lumbar a much-needed break. And of course, less pain.