In medicine the term magic bullet refers to a drug that cures a disease perfectly without any side effects. That would be pretty useful right?
Well, whilst we don’t have a magic bullet for every disease, there is one thing that I would liken to a magic bullet. Exercise.
I should start by saying exercise won’t necessarily cure your disease, but the sheer number of health benefits provided by doing something as simple as exercise is astonishing.
The most obvious benefit is the effect it can have on your body fat by burning calories leading to an increased energy expenditure, which your body covers for by using its fat reserves. Reducing body fat levels has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression/anxiety and a large number of other issues.
Next is the effect exercise has on muscles and bones. Exercise can help make both of these stronger. A stronger body is going to be healthier and also at less risk of injury. As an extension of this, exercise has also been proven to increase bone density, so it can effectively reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Exercise has been proven to improve energy levels. Even in people with persistent fatigue and illness, it does this in a number of ways. Releasing endorphins, improving sleep and improving cardiovascular health are all benefits that directly improve energy levels.
Exercise as also been proven to be beneficial for skin health. It does this by improving blood flow, allowing more nutrients to reach the skin which improves regeneration.
There is also a strong positive for mental health. Exercise has been shown to help improve neurotransmitter and hormone balances in the brain. Improving the levels of serotonin and endorphins by exercising has been shown to help with feelings of depression and anxiety. The exercise doesn’t even have to be intense, simply going for a walk has proven to be enough! On top of this, the improved blood flow to the brain as a direct result of the exercise helps to prevent changes in the brain that lead to memory loss, Alzheimer’s and even schizophrenia.
Finally, exercise has been shown to be an effective method of treatment for chronic pain. For years the treatment protocol had been to rest when you had chronic pain, whicht is wrong. As much as it might seem counter-intuitive, exercise is one of the most effective treatments available for chronic pain e.g. chronic back pain and fibromyalgia.
So as you can see, exercise is an essential part of maintaining and improving your overall health. And like I said above, it can be as simple as going for a walk, so there’s really no excuse not to do it!
Movement is medicine. Motion is lotion.