Physical activity: The most effective treatment for your health
Any form of physical activity performed as a treatment for an illness or injury is termed exercise therapy. Exercise therapy is only one of the modalities available to treat various musculoskeletal, neurological and psychological conditions.
Exercise therapy is aimed at increasing function, with the added benefits of improving self-confidence and sleep quality, increasing activity levels and social contacts, and with all this providing a sense of achievement.
The benefits of exercise as a therapy are well documented.
You've heard of the runner's high? This is caused by the brain releasing endorphins into the body. Basically, exercise makes you feel good on a chemical level. The psychological boost you get from exercising is real. It releases stress and can improve your blood pressure and resting heart rate, both of which lead to a more relaxed state of mind. The process of exercising also allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment - you set small goals each week, and you meet these goals. The abatement of health conditions that are brought on by inactivity also makes you feel better emotionally and relieves stress. And exercise can also give you a big confidence boost. You will feel more attractive and more physically capable.
It's not just emotionally beneficial, however. Many of the injuries and illnesses we suffer from can be traced directly to inactivity and bad lifestyle choices. Exercise can repair the problems and help you make progress preventing them in the future. Running, for example, will improve your cardiovascular health, but it may also help you quit smoking, which further improves your cardio: two benefits for the price of one.
Regular exercise will increase your bone density. So, after using exercise to help rehabilitate a broken leg, it's now helping to prevent the leg from breaking again in the future.
Well-developed muscles are anchored to the bones by strong tendons. These, in turn, are less susceptible to injury. And conditioned muscles, coupled with flexible joints, injury-proof your limbs.
Sick people often feel socially isolated. Any type of exercise, such as gentle yoga, can help alleviate that as well. Many kinds of exercise take place in public settings, whether it's on a path in a park, or at a commercial gym. Exercising also gives you common ground with the people around you.
The truth is, of all the supplementary health treatments you can participate in, probably none is more effective for more people than exercise.