Well, it’s that time again. New Year’s, or January, which usually involves a fresh start that includes countless resolutions in hopes of improving upon the previous year. Many times these resolutions call for improvements to one’s lifestyle, addressing such things as diet and exercise. January will be met with a myriad of people rushing to local gyms to sign-up for annual memberships only to be pushed aside and not used much beyond February.
However, consider this: exercise should not be perceived as something we should do, but as something that must be done to maintain a quality standard of life. Further, what if your family doctor prescribed you medication and said if you failed to consume it daily you would greatly increase your chances of morbidity and mortality, would you likely consume this prescription? I think you would.
What if that prescription was exercise?
WHY SHOULD I EXERCISE? Exercise has widely been accepted as something everyone should do, but why? In a changing global environment where the last 100 years has resulted in a drastic shift from high demand industrialized labour to sedentary office work, the need for routine exercise has become increasingly important. A progressively sedentary population ranging from young children to the elderly has resulted in a changing health care dynamic that needs to be addressed.
It has been suggested that excess weight and decreased physical inactivity in Canada results in a significant economic burden of approximately $29 billion per year (Krueger et al., 2014). However, the same study revealed that by increasing physical activity by 1% annually would result in a savings of $2.1 billion per year (Krueger et al., 2014) and in a struggling economy this money could be put to better use in solving medical conditions not largely affected by inactivity, but resulting from genetics or environmental conditions.
Until recently, one of the largest misconceptions is that exercise is required only for people seeking to be stronger, look better, or to do the impossible (i.e., run ultra-marathons) and that most health benefits are largely a result of one’s diet. However, this recent scientific evidence has demonstrated that simply participating in greater than 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise per week (about 20 min/day) can help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, depression, osteoporosis, and many more, without the countless side effects associated with medication to treat similar conditions.
150 minutes a week (about 20 min/day) of moderate-to-strenuous levels of exercise can help preventobesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, depression, osteoporosis, and many more, without the countless side effects associated with medication to treat similar conditions.
So, I think the question of why exercise is so important is because it contributes to improved health, resulting in increased longevity in a disease-free state. Prevention is always the best medicine and health and exercise professionals are uniquely positioned to help with change to positively impact the future of our Canadian health care system.
If you are interested in beginning this transition into long-term health and wellness, let the Ascent health team provide the necessary guidance in injury rehabilitation, goal setting, nutrition, and recovery.
Written by Dr. Roger Menta