Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The following is a mock testimonial video for personal training. We created this video to highlight the ridiculousness of those infomercials and fitness professionals who take themselves a little too seriously and make promises they cannot keep. This entire video was meant to be a joke, was not meant to offend anyone nor cause any harm to anyone. I simply wanted to make a statement about what I feel to be a ridiculous culture in the fitness industry, where professionals promise clients instant weight loss and people expect a magical cure to rid them of their health and weight problems. So please watch this with a sense of humor and do not take it seriously :)
The following is a paper based on an oral presentation I gave last week on the benefits of exercise.
“THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EXERCISE”
"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states." ~Carol Welch
We all have bodies. Most of us want to maintain a certain level of physical and mental health. Exercise is one avenue for doing so. I am an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and I’ve done a ton of research on this topic for the past 8 years. I have personally witnessed the benefits of exercise with my clients, myself, and those around me who have chosen to exercise regularly. I have seen the way it changes lives for the better. Exercise offers many benefits to people. Exercise benefits people physiologically, psychologically and also benefits people’s long-term quality of life.
First, let’s talk about the physiological benefits of exercise.
Exercising benefits us physically, on many levels. It benefits our organs, brain, muscular and skeletal systems. Our entire bodies benefit down to the cellular level. Here are some specific examples:
- Weight bearing exercise increases bone density, which staves off osteoporosis and makes stronger bones, which are harder to break.
- One Australian study done on women with hip osteopenia proved weight bearing exercise increased bone density compared to the control group, who were taking calcium supplements but continued to experience bone loss. Those on the exercise program improved 0.5% compared with a 0.9% loss for the control participants (Bolton, 2012). I have never once heard of a woman taking calcium supplements and gaining bone density, but I have known a woman who increased her bone density after training with me.
- Aerobic exercise benefits our circulatory system and heart, making it much more efficient and increasing our endurance in tough physical situations.
- Weight bearing exercise increases our physical strength, our ability to lift things and carry heavy objects. Many of my clients report being able to carry in the groceries with a lot less difficulty after training with me, it's probably the most common thing I hear after the first couple of weeks!
- Exercise can aid in reducing adipose (fat) tissue, a common desire in people who are or perceive themselves to be overweight. This is the number one reason people come to me. Exercise is the catalyst to weight loss that works especially well when eating a good, clean, healthy diet.
- Exercise can reverse and/or stave off the effects of many diseases, including PCOS, type 2 diabetes, hypertensions and many others. “Physical activity affords significant acute and chronic benefits for those with type 2 diabetes. The benefits of chronic physical activity are more numerous than those of acute physical activity, emphasizing the need for regular participation by those with type 2 diabetes and those at risk for this form of diabetes” (Albright, 2000)
- Exercise can increase coordination and body control.
Exercise can make us feel better, make us stronger, make us more capable of handling physical burdens and increase our endurance. It makes our bones stronger, our hearts healthier, and our body systems function better.
A family member of mine has a disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. It’s a disease that effects the ovaries and causes issues such as insulin resistance (which causes weight gain), excessive testosterone production (which can cause unsightly facial and body hair growth) as well as irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. The more adipose tissue a person with PCOS has, the worse their symptoms become. She was able to reverse and significantly reduce most of the symptoms related to her disease simply by exercising regularly and keeping her weight down.
Now that we’ve talked about how exercise benefits people physiologically, now we’re going to talk about the psychological benefits of exercise.
Exercise positively effects people mentally whether they’re suffering from a mental illness or not.
- Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins that create a happy and/or euphoric feeling that improves mood.
- Exercise has been proven to aid in the treatment of many psychological disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
- “Exercise appears to be an effective treatment for depression, improving depressive symptoms to a comparable extent as pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Observational studies suggest that active people are less likely to be depressed, and interventional studies suggest that exercise is beneficial in reducing depression” (Blumenthal 2012)
- Exercise improves cognitive function and memory. “a meta-analysis of studies that randomly assigned participants to exercise and nonexercise conditions found that exercise has positive effects on cognitive functioning” (Bjorklund, 2015)
- Exercising in multiple planes can help build neural pathways in the brain and increase intelligence.
Exercise can help us maintain or gain mental health. A lot of my clients have told me that they’re a lot happier since working out with me regularly. I have one client in particular who told me she’d been suffering from severe depression before we started working out together and that it’s been gone ever since we started. That makes me really happy. Not only that, but I have felt the effects of exercise on myself. When I am feeling down, anxious, or even PMSing, I often use exercise to pull myself out of that mental funk and it works really well.
Now that we’ve discussed the physiological benefits of exercise and the psychological benefits of exercise, let’s discuss the long-term benefits of exercise on quality of life.
- Exercise has been proven to help stave-off or fully prevent many chronic illnesses especially those associated with old age
- Exercise often improves symptoms of chronic diseases, such as improving the aerobic capacity in asthmatics and decreasing their reliance on a corticosteroid inhaler (Fanelli, 2007). In the study cited above, they had a control group of asthmatic children and a test group of asthmatic children. The control group did not exercise, but the test group began a regular exercise program. Over the course of the study, the test group began to rely less on their inhaler, unlike the control group.
- People with the genetic markers that increase their risk for getting Alzheimer’s Disease can lower their risk through regular exercise, and those who already have Alzheimer’s Disease can slow progression of the disease through a regular exercise program. “A simple exercise program, 1 hour twice a week, led to significantly slower decline in ADL score in patients with AD (Alzheimers Disease) living in a nursing home than routine medical care” (Roland, 2007)
- People who use their muscles are less likely to lose them. Those who exercise regularly are less likely to lose the use of certain body functions, like walking, and the ability to bike, if they continue to do so as they age.
- People who exercise regularly maintain more cognitive function, have less cognitive decline as they age, and prevent memory loss as they age better than those who do not.
- If you exercise regularly you are able to maintain your muscle mass, so you won’t start losing it with those who don’t exercise when you hit your 30s. This aids in maintaining your metabolism and preventing the weight gain and other negative side effects associated with aging.
Exercise can help us maintain a good quality of life until we die. Exercise can also help those suffering from chronic illnesses to improve their quality of life. I met an old man in his 90s when I worked at a hospital as a registrar. I thought he was 70 at the oldest. I asked him what his secret was, he told me he biked everywhere he went every single day. He told me it kept him young.
As you can see, exercise offers many benefits.It benefits us physiologically, mentally, and it benefits our long-term quality of life. The purpose of this presentation was not to convince you to exercise, but simply to inform you of the benefits you may experience if you choose to incorporate it into your daily life. Exercise is medicine.
Albright A, Franz M, Hornsby G, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand.
Exercise and type 2 diabetes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2000; 32:1345-60.
Bolton KL, Egerton T, Wark J, Wee E, Matthews B, Kelly A, Craven R, Kantor S, Bennell KL.
The University of Melbourne, Department of Physiotherapy, Australia.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport [2012, 15(2):102-109]
Blumenthal, J. S. (2012). Is Exercise a Viable Treatment for Depression? ACSM's Health & Fitness
Bjorklund, B. R. (2015). The Journey of Adulthood (8th Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Prentice Hall.
Fanelli, A., Cabral, A. L. B., Neder, J. A., Martins, M. A., & Carvalho, C. R. F. (2007). Exercise
training on disease control and quality of life in asthmatic children. Medicine and science
in sports and exercise, 39(9), 1474.
Rolland, Y., Pillard, F., Klapouszczak, A., Reynish, E., et al. (2007). Exercise Program for Nursing
Home Residents with Alzheimer’s Disease: A 1-Year Randomized, Controlled Trial.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55: 158-165.