“What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity? Would you prescribe it to your patients? Certainly.” – Dr. Robert Sallis, Exercise is Medicine Advisory Board Chairman

A new drug has been discovered with such broad ranging powers that it may end up being the cure for all human disease. Early reports suggest that it can be used to prevent and treat almost every chronic disease faced by humans. The list of benefits of taking this drug are truly amazing:

This drug has been shown to;

·      lower your risk of certain types of cancer by 24-50%,

·      prevent and treat cardiovascular disease,

·      reverse type 2 diabetes,

·      reduce the number of cold and flu infections that you get by 75%,

·      prevent osteoporosis,

·      alleviate depression and anxiety,

·      prevent Alzheimer’s disease

·      improve memory, learning, problem solving and concentration,

·      make you happier.

There is only one catch to this drug. You have to take it almost every day for the rest of your life. You have to be consistent. If you do that you’re guaranteed to get the benefits. Have you figured it out yet? This “drug” is exercise. It does all of the above and much, much, more. Are you in?

But, once again the world is faced with a grand challenge – the inactivity epidemic.

You may not know that sitting is an independent risk factor for chronic illnesses, including cancer. Basically, the more sedentary you are, the sicker you will probably get. Getting a chronic disease may seem pretty far off into the distance for you, but the decisions you make at this age affect the adult you become.

But we often have to sit during the day, during our commutes or at school. So what’s one to do?

We need to move more – and move more consistently.

Short bouts of activity throughout your day can supercharge your health and performance. Fifteen minutes of exercise – like a short walk – can increase your ability to concentrate and problem solve. 

Here’s what else is great about moving more: you strengthen your immune system, which works to fight off viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. It’s like chemical and biological warfare inside the body. When the system works well, we fight off invaders and stay healthy. When the system is ineffective, we get sick.

Research shows that people who exercise at a moderate level consistently get sick the least. So build in some exercise to your routine every day. If you're thinking that you don't have time, remember that by taking a little time up front, you'll be avoiding days and days of illness down the road. If you think that you don't have time to exercise, the reality is that you can't afford not to. 

Remember, it’s all about being 1% better and learning from the extremes of human health and performance. Fortunately, the idea that exercise is medicine is exploding around the world. Researchers and clinicians are now discovering powerful links between movement and health.

We’re going to spend some time together exploring these links. If you didn't already fill out the health, wellbeing, and performance audit, please take five minutes to fill out this physical activity questionnaire. We can then give you specific recommendations on how to improve your daily physical activity habits.

Today's POWER-UP: Follow the 20 / 20 rule

For every 20 minutes of sitting, stand and stretch for 20 seconds – and, if you take public transportation to school, stand up instead of sitting down. Just find ways of sprinkling movement in throughout your day.

Dive Deeper

Here's a short 3 min video I did for TSN on how running helps keep you healthy. Check it out!