I just finished getting my ISSA Personal Training certification and the content reiterated what I have intuitively felt and known my whole life, that movement and exercise is the most important foundation to leading a healthy life.

Exercise is medicine!

The following content has been provided by ISSA and I wanted to share it because the growing number of ailments and supposed cures grows longer by the day but if we can keep in mind that keeping care of our body is the greatest doctor of them all then we can sustain through the manipulations created by the media and consumer driven healthcare complex that spread dis-ease and fear knowing that health is in our own hands at the end of the day.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

John Kennedy

Any listing of the medical problems and health-related conditions that can be at least partially treated and controlled by exercise would be extensive. Among the most significant of these health concerns and the manner in which exercise is thought to help alleviate each condition are the following:

  • Allergies. Exercise is one of the body’s most efficient ways to control nasal congestion (and the accompanying discomfort of restricted nasal blood flow).
  • Angina. Regular aerobic exercise dilates vessels, increasing blood flow — thereby improving the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the bloodstream.
  • Anxiety. Exercise triggers the release of mood-altering chemicals in the brain.
  • Arthritis. By forcing a skeletal joint to move, exercise induces the manufacture of synovial fluid, helps to distribute it over the cartilage, and forces it to circulate throughout the joint space.
  • Back pain. Exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, the lower back extensor muscles, and the hamstring muscles.
  • Bursitis and tendinitis. Exercise can strengthen the tendons — enabling them to handle greater loads without being injured.
  • Cancer. Exercise helps maintain ideal bodyweight and helps keep body fat to a minimum.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. Exercise helps build up the muscles in the wrists and forearms, thereby reducing the stress on arms, elbows, and hands.
  • Cholesterol. Exercise helps to raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein—the “good” cholesterol) levels in the blood and lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein—the undesirable cholesterol) levels.
  • Constipation. Exercise helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, thereby making it easier to pass a stool.
  • Depression. Exercise helps speed metabolism and deliver more oxygen to the brain; the improved level of circulation in the brain tends to enhance mood.
  • Diabetes. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, strengthen the skeletal muscles and heart, improve circulation, and reduce stress.
  • Fatigue. Exercise can help alleviate the fatigue-causing effects of stress, poor circulation and blood oxygenation, bad posture, and poor breathing habits.
  • Glaucoma. Exercise helps relieve intraocular hypertension (the pressure buildup on the eyeball that heralds the onset of glaucoma).
  • Headaches. Exercise helps force the brain to secrete more of the body’s opiate-like, pain-dampening chemicals (e.g., endorphins and enkephalins).
  • Heart disease. Exercise helps promote many changes that collectively lower the risk of heart disease—a decrease in body fat, a decrease in LDL cholesterol, an increase in the efficiency of the heart and lungs, a decrease in blood pressure, and a lowered heart rate.
  • High blood pressure. Exercise reduces the level of stress-related chemicals in the bloodstream that constrict arteries and veins, increases the release of endorphins, raises the level of HDL in the bloodstream, lowers resting heart rate (over time), improves the responsiveness of blood vessels (over time), and helps reduce blood pressure through maintenance of body weight.
  • Insomnia. Exercise helps reduce muscular tension and stress.
  • Intermittent claudication. Claudication is pain caused by too little blood flow to the extremities. Exercise helps improve peripheral circulation and increases pain tolerance.
  • Knee problems. Exercise helps strengthen the structures attendant to the knee (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) thereby facilitating the ability of the knee to withstand stress.
  • Lung disease. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles associated with breathing and helps boost the oxygen level in the blood.
  • Memory problems. Exercise helps to improve cognitive ability by increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Menstrual problems and PMS. Exercise helps to control the hormonal imbalances often associated with PMS by increasing the release of beta-endorphins.
  • Osteoporosis. Exercise promotes bone density, thereby lowering an individual’s risk of experiencing a bone fracture.
  • Overweight problems. Exercise is an appetite suppressant. It also increases metabolic rate, burns fat, increases lean muscle mass, and improves self-esteem—all factors that contribute to healthy weight.
  • Varicose veins. Exercise can help control the level of discomfort caused by existing varicose veins and help prevent additional varicose veins.

As a personal trainer, I have an inherent responsibility to positively influence the health and fitness attitudes of people around me. Individually and collectively, we can bring health and fitness to the masses and make the dream of optimal health a reality for all.