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Fitness as medicine

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Fitness as medicine

Physical activity and exercise are necessary for wellbeing, mood control, life satisfaction, longevity and reduced disability.

It is essential for

1 Mood, brain function, cognition and to reduce depression.

2 Lung function and fitness

3 All aspects of heart and vascular function

4.Bone and joint health

5 Insulin sensitivity and glycaemic control (reduction of Type 2 Diabetes)

6 Gut function and health microbiome

7 Reduce weight gain and control obesity

9 Recovery and survival of chronic conditions

General adaptation is beneficial:Physical activity and exercise exerts a powerful natural stress which helps the body to become stronger and fitter. The more we gradually adapt the fitter we become

Hormesis is beneficial by positively adapting to small amounts of stress that would normally be harmful such as cold baths, intermittent fasting, HIIT (high intensity interval training)

Reversability is definitely not good for us. Sedentary behaviour and long periods of sitting does not allow natural stress so the body un-adapts and down-regulates every system in the body to save resources, which ultimately leads to loss of function, weight gain and is a gradual downward spiral of bodily function.

As you exercise, you get fatigued, you rest, you recover and then take more exercise and as you get stronger you recover more quickly and so on. However, if you over train and reach burnout you will take longer to recover.

Physical activity equates to any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure. Gross bodily movement are usually small movements involved in normal daily functions. Exercise is physical activity that is planned,structured, repetitive and designed to improve of maintain physical fitness, performance of health. Sedentary behaviour is any waking behaviour characterised by minimal energy expenditure such a sitting or reclining.

To summarise, frequent achievable exercise leads to adaptability and hormesis, the more you move the better, and the more vigorously you move frequently the better. This does not mean that you cannot expend energy, improve your lung capacity, burn more calories and get fitter just by doing everyday activities. Going to the gym and getting a targeted programme of fitness is fabulous but it is not for everyone and it is possible to get a good workout by doing gardening, housework, walking as long as it is enough to make you puff, preferably on hills and increase the amount you do every day. Ideally finding activities that you enjoy doing, especially outside, that increase your heart rate and breathing will be sustainable, enjoyable and encourage you to do more. Avoid sedentary behaviour, too much sitting leads to reversability and steady decline. Get up and move frequently, every bit helps and every day little bit more.


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