Exercise = Non Essential?
As Americans, we have long been missing the point of exercise and fitness. We have distorted what the intent of exercise is. We have taken a modality that helps us prevent disease, sickness, and increased longevity and turned it into a vanity project. While the trend is to become more extreme and intimidating, we are losing and pushing away those who need exercise the most.
Right now, more than ever, exercise should be about preserving where you are and combating a serious health crisis in COVID-19. Not only is exercise important to fight the most pressing health crisis we possibly have ever faced, but the lack of this fitness can lead to the destruction of quality of life. There are many factors that are diagnosed and others that are natural progressions of aging that are deterred through a healthy exercise regimen.
It is well documented that there are serious health threats to us as Americans brought about by insufficient exercise and poor nutritional habits. This list of threats includes heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, infections and diseases of the lungs, and metabolic syndromes categorized as obesity and diabetes. In addition, other factors that prevail but are often overlooked are increased body fat percentage, sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), loss of strength, decreased coordination, decreased balance, and decreased cardiovascular capacity.
Should we look for another pill? I advocate we utilize one of the most proven medical interventions know to all humanity-EXERCISE. The objective should always be to use less medication not more. If none of the factors listed do not scare you into submission for starting or continuing to progress your fitness journey, then I applaud you. However, I feel that the last two months may have helped to prove that it does not take long for one or more than one of these health markers to become present in our lives.
Exercise is important to help decrease body fat, manage blood sugar, keep hormones balanced, enhance the immune system, and make one happier as an anti-depressing stimulant. Of course, strength training helps develop strong bones and muscles, maintain coordination, and balance, and make us more resilient to injury and pain. The return on investment in one’s self through exercise is incalculable.
So I ask, IS EXERCISE ESSENTIAL?
Shane Redmond, LAT, ATC, CSCS owns his own fitness facility and has worked with youth athletes to the functional aging.