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Exercise is a Drug - Disease Prevention & Reducing Depression

From the article Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise (J Vina et al). "Exercise is so beneficial for health that it should be considered as a drug. As for any other drug, dosing is very important. Otherwise, unfavorable side effects may occur. Some of the favorable effects of exercise apply to the general population. Prominent amongst these are its role in prevention of many diseases and in the promotion of healthy longevity. But exercise can also be considered as treatment of established diseases. These include commonly occurring conditions such as depression, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases."

Exercise is good for both our bodies and minds, as evidenced in research. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Performance ( recommends for substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

Starting a new exercise program can be daunting. Continuing an exercise program can be difficult. But a consistent exercise programs can be extremely rewarding for our bodies, minds, and health. The effort is worth the reward!

Helpful tips to start an exercise program:

  1. Find a support system: a partner, group fitness class, or an online app or YouTube channel.

  2. Choose a form of exercise you like: yoga, swimming, cycling, walking, HIIT, horseback riding, tennis, badminton, etc. - it doesn't matter! The more joy you find in your exercise routine, the easier it is to continue.

  3. Start slowly: going from 0 to 100 is a recipe for injury and/or burnout. Start with 10 minutes of exercise a few days a week and increase 10% each week until you reach 150 minutes (or more!) of exercise a week.

  4. Schedule rest days: avoid burnout by taking days off, or change your routine with a different route or a different form of exercise.

  5. Consult with a physical therapist or personal trainer: if you need help, or accountability, with your exercise program there are trained professionals that can help!

Feel better, look better, & be healthy!


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