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The Best Medicine Money Can't Buy
By Carol Krucoff
Physical Activity Can Prevent and Treat a Host of Ailments
Since ancient times, healers have recognized the curative power of physical activity. Yet only recently has scientific evidence confirmed this widespread belief that movement heals.
Today, virtually every form of medicine recognizes these basic truths:
- Simple exercise can have profound healing effects.
- Specific "healing moves" can help prevent and treat illness and optimize health.
These concepts are embraced by traditional healers and modern scientists, Eastern practitioners and Western physicians, alternative and conventional medicine advocates alike. At a time when patients and health care providers are searching for safe, effective and inexpensive therapies, physical activity is an ideal self-care strategy to help prevent, relieve and sometimes even cure disease.
In "Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise"a book written with my husband, Duke University cardiologist Mitchell Krucoffwe explore the latest scientific findings about exercise's therapeutic power and present nine "healing moves" programs to help treat a wide range of common medical conditions including diabetes, depression, asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
Our theme is that, in many ways, movement is an ideal medicine. It's extremely effective, free (or at least inexpensive), low risk, abundantly available, socially acceptable and simple to do. When compared to traditional treatments, such as drugs and surgery, the risk/benefit profile frequently is far superior. In our remote-control culture, movement is a perfect prescription for prevention and treatment of America's epidemic of inactivity-related diseases.
Over the last few decades, study after study has shown that moving regularly enhances health, while inactivity impairs it. Physical activity can help some diabetics come off insulin and some hypertensives quit their high blood pressure medication. It can lower cholesterol, ease arthritis pain, lift depression, relieve anxiety and help asthmatics breathe easier. It can help slow the aging process and boost both the quantity and quality of life.
Movement enhances the heart's ability to pump blood, the lung's capacity to fill with oxygen, the metabolism's ability to burn fat and the immune system's defensive power. In fact, virtually every bodily system becomes stronger and more efficient with regular exercise. A growing body of research indicates that getting regular physical activity may be the single most important thing you can do to prevent disease and promote good health.
Part Two: A look at the therapeutic effect exercise can have on diabetes and asthma.