Exercise improves life across board

Published 11:04 pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

We’ve all heard…”An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and “Laughter is the best medicine,” but have you ever considered how much exercise improves your health?

The buzzword in health these days is to go “all natural,” and what could be more natural than working out or exercising?

In fact, a Consumer Report’s survey of more than 46,000 folks, found exercise to be as effective, and sometimes even more effective than prescription medications for several medical conditions.

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In this survey, participants agreed that exercise exceeded results over natural remedies like herbs, and acupuncture, and worked as well as prescription medications for conditions like arthritis, prostrate problems and even back pain.

Working out is great for those with Type 2 diabetes. In the United States, there are 25.8 million people who have diabetes (that’s 8.3 percent of the U.S. population), and 79 million more who are considered pre-diabetic. Here’s the thing… most with type two diabetes can control their condition with lifestyle changes including dietary changes, stopping smoking, taking medications (if prescribed) and exercise.

In fact, one study showed that exercise dramatically reduced blood sugar spikes in individuals. These spikes that occur after meals are known as postprandial glucose (PPG) and are associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even death.

Exercise is of great benefit to those with cardiovascular disease too. Several studies published in the British Medical indicated that there were no differences in morbidity (incidence of disease) between those who performed proper exercise, and those who took medications for cardiovascular disease and pre-diabetes, and that exercise was even more effective than drugs for those with stroke. These were some 305 studies, involving more than 339,000 people. Only in those with heart failure, was medication (notably, diuretics) more effective.

I know firsthand, the benefits of exercise, as I’ve performed post heart surgery rehab for many years. Folks who exercise properly, feel better, have a sense of well-being, and a much greater quality of life.

I’m not suggesting you toss your medication. Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program, whether you have a specific medical condition or not. Some have health issues, even if they feel fine.

Work in concert with your doctor, combining a proper medicinal and exercise regimen. Also, make sure you get exercise instruction from an expert who has experience working with your specific situation. It makes all the difference in the world.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or visit fitness4yourlife.org.

David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team.

He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps., lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.