Should Fitness Be A Medicine?
Fitness Should Be Medicine
As a fitness professional, I am very biased and have questioned this for some time now. Research has proven that exercise is the best medicine yet our society does not treat fitness with the same esteem as medicine. To some, fitness has been term complementary medicine. Is fitness really complementary or is fitness perhaps the first all natural medicine that has been proven to prevent and heal?
Additionally, I must question if we have correctly termed "therapy". After my Grandmother had knee replacements, she was prescribed therapy exercises for her knees. She continued those exercises daily the rest of her life.
Later when I struggled with my knees, I remember her statement yet I never connected the fact that muscles protect the knee joint. I was never educated, informed or I simply did not connect the dots - whatever the case, I now find many of personal training clients share the same thought process I had before I was trained and educated.
Once we understand how the stairs can help us with our health, shouldn't we promote the stairways rather than hide the stairways? Don't you find it ironic that hospitals hide the stairways the best (not all but most hospitals).
Promoting stairways at hospitals deserves a national award.
Fitness, I feel, deserves the same status and notoriety and payment plans from our health coverage as any therapy or any physician's visit.
Silver Sneakers has made its way into Medicare coverage - great start.
What brought this to mind for me was an interaction with a Veteran. I have long supported providing some sort of benefit coverage for our Veterans to attend a health club at reduced prices. We recognize our Veterans but IF we were to really do something for our Veterans perhaps we could start with offering a free membership to them and reduced costs for their families to the local gym.
The costs the opponents would say would be huge - they are right - but I contend we pay it now and get started and see savings or we pay it later when people cannot walk, or when people need a knee replacement. Falling is an injury we can prevent with a good fitness program. To avoid the trauma and medical costs of falling makes all us healthier - emotionally and financially.
The United States has one of the highest medical costs in the world. We must combat this social trauma. The fight against obesity has been discussed.
Let's step up and remember our Veterans every day and extend fitness - the complementary medicine to their health insurance programs.
Fitness IS Medicine
Views on Exercise from US Presidents
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 F. Kennedy
Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.
Views on Exercise as Medicine from Car Guys
A muscle is like a car. If you want it to run well early in the morning, you have to warm it up.
~Florence Griffith Joyner
Views on Exercise and Health from the Philosphers
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
Views on Exercise - Silly Stuff!
My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.
I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me.
I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.
Views About Eating Right
Real food, I've found, is actually better than dieting.
Changing the Paradigm of Fitness Has Started
We have made progress but more can be done. Silver Sneakers is included in Medicare. We, as a society are now talking about fitness as a preventative item for obesity yet we rarely talk about the case studies that show where fitness has forestalled the need for surgery. Yes, the need may still be there, yet, if we forestall the need, we may be able to develop procedures that are less costly and less invasive.
When I had surgery in 1976 at Mayo Clinic, the doctor stated I was good until age 65. I have watched the changes over the years and am thrilled to report my sister in law had open heart surgery without the heart and lung machine and all the invasion into her body. She was a special case because of her diabetes and one of the very first - number 44 or something remarkable like that a couple of years ago.
The fact that we can now do the same surgery with less cost, shorter recuperation time is reason enough to forestall a surgery with exercise.
Resting Heart Rate
For me, I watch my resting heart rate and see a direct correlation with my fitness program.
Forestalling Surgery with Fitness
Forestalling surgery may eliminate the surgery or it may not. Forestalling surgery with "therapy" or exercise may allow time for new procedures that are cheaper and more effective.
Forestalling - My Personal Story and Viewpoint
Let me be clear, "forestalling" surgery is not the same as "delaying". We do not want to change the quality of care. If the need is present, we do not want to delay. If we can forestall the need - that is the highest and best use.
My forestalling is a personal choice and should always remain so.
When I ran the health insurance plan, I was horrified when an employee of mine signed up under HMO and their son's heart surgery was delayed 6 months! I could relate and was emotionally attached - you see when I was told I needed heart surgery, Mayo had a 6 month waiting list. I didn't want to have heart surgery in the summer, I wanted it over and done with. Mayo Clinic listened and I had my surgery December 10th.
Balance Specific Exercises Should be Prescribed by Physicians
Our aging elderly need our help to age gracefully and live more active lives longer. Prescribing balance exercises for the elderly should be a part of our medical practice. Handing out prescriptions just for drugs needs to stop - prescriptions must always include prescriptions for exercise - address the specific weakness of the patient.
Should we turn the physician into a "physical therapist" - no but the physician has a responsibility to take a holistic diagnosis and address the lack of muscle tone and provide effective solutions. Solutions for physicians should not be limited to prescription drugs. Physicians and exercise professionals all know the healing and preventative powers that only exercise can often offer.
Happy Heart - Fitness IS Medicine
Exercise Prescription for Frail Older Adults
Preventing Falls with Older Adults
Preventing Falls with Older Adults with Fitness
A man at church who is aging fell the other day. When I asked his wife about his diagnosis, I was greatly saddened because the physician only attended to the self evident ailments he was fighting - diabetes and heart disease. From speaking with this man and hugging him at church and watching him walk, I know he is struggling with the lack of core muscle strength. Yet no exercise was given to him to him to strengthen his care and help with his stability.
We place health warnings on alcohol and cigarettes packages and yet when a walker or cane is sold, there are no exercises to help the individual avoid a fall. They are obviously buying the cane or walker to help with their stability but no one is training them in strengthening their core muscles? Imagine how we could help our aging populace if we included specific exercises with each medical prescription for cane or walker? Imagine lessening the number of falls and broken hips that plague our loved ones? Imagine fitness and medicine being married together and working as a team for a healthier world.
How Do You Feel?
Should Fitness be Considered a Medicine for Veterans?
Should Medical Products Such as Canes and Walkers Include Recommended Stability Exercises?
Should Fitness Be Considered A Medicine for All Americans?
A Healthier World
When you visit your physician, when you take a friend to the doctor or emergency room, do ask about muscle tone and the patient's resting heart rate. These are items that can be readily diagnosed and addressed. Sadly, the majority of our populace does not have the time or the money to hire a personal trainer and for the dollars we are spending on healthcare, I must question why healthcare is not taking a more active stance on promoting exercise as a medicine. Join me in a healthier world, a world where medicine and fitness are partners working side by side each day of care.
© 2011 Kelly A Burnett