What makes exercise a powerful medicine?
Exercise is medicine. It’s a tonic with long-term benefits. We’re realizing more and more that exercise can improve memory and reduce the risk of a host of diseases. It can boost your mood and may help improve relationships. For people with chronic conditions, exercise can be a key part of alleviating symptoms.
Exercise Improves Chronic Conditions Like Parkinsons
People living with Parkinsons struggle with rigid, jerky movements. Over time, they gradually lose control over their muscles. This leads to tremors, loss of balance, and difficulty walking or speaking. The symptoms are treated with medication.
A growing number of people with Parkinsons are finding relief through movement therapies. At the Fight 2 Fitness gym in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Parkinson’s patients learn to box. On any given day there, you might find a group of people hitting punching bags and fighting the effects of Parkinson’s at the same time.
Exercise (everything from tai chi to golfing to drumming) has been shown to lessen symptoms of Parkinsons. Patients often report that their movements are more fluid after a round of golf or a tai chi class. Researchers say that movement therapy helps people at all stages of the disease.
Exercise Is Valuable For Everyone
The days of escaping physical activity because you’re sick are passing. Exercise can help alleviate symptoms for a host of other chronic conditions.
- Diabetes: Exercising regularly can help insulin do a better job of lowering blood sugar levels.
- Asthma: People with asthma often find exercise helps control the severity and frequency of asthma attacks.
- Heart Disease: Strength training can make it easier for people with heart disease to do daily activities by improving muscle strength and endurance. Exercise can also slow disease-related decline in muscle strength.
And don’t forget that exercise is excellent preventative medicine, too. A 2013 study found that women who exercised regularly significantly reduced their risk of breast cancer. Walking for an hour a day (seven days a week) reduced breast cancer risk by 14 percent.