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Should Fitness Be A Medicine?

Updated on May 29, 2015

Fitness Should Be Medicine

medicine and fitness belong together clip art
medicine and fitness belong together clip art | Source

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

Fitness IS Medicine
Fitness IS Medicine | Source

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.
~Thomas Jefferson

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.

~Phyllis Diller

I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me.

~Mark Twain

I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.
~Joan Rivers

Views About Eating Right

Real food, I've found, is actually better than dieting.
~Angelina Jolie

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.

Heart Surgery

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

colorful red heart running
colorful red heart running | Source

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?

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Should Medical Products Such as Canes and Walkers Include Recommended Stability Exercises?

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Should Fitness Be Considered A Medicine for All Americans?

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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


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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      The Better Mouse Trap,

      You were very wise with your back. What a great testimonial to help others who will be in your situation. The therapy is "optional" - oh, how sad. When our body is stronger, everything is easier - healing, thinking, sleeping. Our relationships are stronger, our work ethic is better and we find the energy to do right.

      Thank you so much for your support - it really means allot.

    • The-BestMouseTrap profile image

      Pam Valentine 

      7 years ago from The Heartland, USA

      If we think back to the earlier centuries, humans did exercise more naturally, without thinking about it. Bending and lifting, natural movements in most daily chores; washing clothes, getting water from the well, everything needed to survive took man or woman power. Perhaps humans were stronger and healthier then. Now we are so sedentary and have so many food options, additives and a host of other things too long for a comment, we are out of balance. You are right, it should be considered medicine. I know when the doctor recommended surgery for my back (success rate for my particular condition 50/50), I took a long look at physical therapy. The doctor called it optional, but I called it much needed. It got me back into shape and the surgery actually was very successful because my body was stronger and could recover faster. Don't stop spreading this message, it needs to get heard. I applaud you.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Emma Harvey,

      Exercise can prevent injuries, exercise can prevent some diseases and yet it is not a covered expense. Exercise professionals, the really top notch ones are medical professionals in their own right and yet we don't give them credit. You are right, improving our health is important. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I believe fitness is important - exercise can help in so many ways. It is a therapy - we use physio in rehab to improve our health again and it is great for the mind as it helps us to focus and beat depression. Really interesting hub - vote up :)

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      If we are already paying for health insurance for our veterans, the added benefit for the health club could help offset the medical costs. The blending of where fitness and medicine begins and ends I hope someday is completely intertwined. I just see so many positives with fitness. I love my garden because it pushes me. I love my home because it pushes me. As a certified personal trainer, my job is to push people to the next level. Our bodies simply enjoy the challenge.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      very informative and I agree veterans should get benefits

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      I am so sorry for your injury. I have no knowledge on that. I fell while painting which is very unusual for me as I literally teach balance. I retired from teaching and then I fall! I was so fortunate not to have broken anything other than my pride. The bruises were painful. I cannot imagine a rib - every breath must hurt. I wish you the very best my friend. You might ask about blood work and see if there might be a deficiency to help you out in the future. Do the research and learn all you can. You will be in my prayers.

    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 

      7 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      do you know anything about a fractured rib? They did catscan three times..the last one of the upper thorax showed a fractured rib since feb this year on my under my left breast..

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      It is a paradigm shift but one I believe we need for our society to combat the expense of medicine.


      I think you are right - the world is changing and hopefully through discussions such as these - the world and us individually will change for the better.

      Jackie Lynnley,

      You make the point I wish every hospital would listen to - people in bed NEED exercise. I mandated my sister-in-law while in bed to do exercises. They have the time and they need the muscle tone - what better place to start. Oh, how I wish hospitals would prescribe bed exercises - thank you so much!


      You are right - health and fitness are inter tangled and it is important. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 

      7 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      very useful hub..its important

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Diet and exercise are both very important. Even in our worst times we can exercise somewhat if it is only lying in bed. Great hub and very important message. Voted up.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      7 years ago from Miami, US

      All of the evidence says yes! Keep working and promoting your ideas. Right now, health experts and taught to rely on pharmacies for health, but I think that the world is changing, and soon people will be raised from childhood to think of fitness as a form of medicine. Voted up!

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      An interesting perspective, GmaGoldie. I think you're right.


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