Physical Exertion for the Win!

I am always sure to regularly circle around back to the basics with my patients.   Certainly, I am constantly following the cutting-edge research of natural treatments of a broad range of health conditions, always seeking out different ways to promote healing within the body.  But it is also vitally important to not overlook those foundational aspects of health, which are constantly staring us right in the face.  Every day, the food we consume, and how we move (or don’t move) our bodies makes up a large part of that foundation.  And in a medical world that leans heavily toward the pharmaceutical treatment of most health conditions, it’s always a pleasure to see these interventions given a bit of the spotlight. 

In this case, two new comprehensive research reviews were released which showed that physical exercise has the ability to both lower blood pressure and reduce visceral body fat, at least as effectively as commonly prescribed prescription medications.  This is over 391 trials, including nearly 50,000 individuals!  Perhaps this does not come as a giant surprise, but how very empowering to have the data that shows it!

High blood pressure is an incredibly common problem in the US, and I’m sure most people have not missed the slew of recalls on common high blood pressure medications that may be doing more harm than good.  But while there may be some concern with some of these drugs, unmanaged high blood pressure is a significant risk factor itself, putting sufferers at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Visceral fat is the type of fat that accumulates around the midsection, increasing risk of a wide variety of health conditions, from diabetes to heart disease.  The researchers actually pointed out that aerobic exercise actually did a better job of specifically reducing visceral fat compared to medications.  So exercise doesn’t just help you lose weight – but specifically the right kind of weight!

It is noted that exercise trials are difficult to control and tend to not be as long lasting as drug trials.  Researchers are calling on more exercise trials to gain further information.  But proactive patients do not have to wait for those!  Talk to your doctor soon about getting serious about using exercise as medicine!

For more information, read the New York Times review article here:

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