Time’s The Science of Exercise – Highlights (Part 1)

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I don’t always spend $14.99 on a magazine at the supermarket, but when I do it’s for this gem from Time… The Science of Exercise. I decided to share my actual highlights, meaning some quick notes regarding the things I actually underlined, marked a smiley face next to, etc.

From Dr. Jordan D Metzel:

  • He wrote: Healthcare in the United States is, in practice, more like “sick care.”
  • When noting that several diseases and conditions respond strongly to exercise, he called out that when compared with people who do not exercise regularly, active people have lower blood pressure, lower stroke rates, decreased heart attack risk, lower rates of anxiety, lower rates of depression, lower rates of memory loss. Type 2 diabetes is both treatable and preventable with regular exercise. Want to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia? Exercise is currently the most effective way to prevent these!
  • The recommended dose of exercise is 150 minutes per week (American College of Sports Medicine), but you can “get away” with half of that time if you do HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

“If I had my way, medicine’s 4 core vital signs – temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration – would be joined by a 5th: step count, with a goal of 10,000 per day. It should be part of every standard medical chart, right alongside height and weight.”

Studies & Stats he cites:

  • In 1953 The Lancet published a study which showed that the active postmen (on routes) died less than their sedentary counterparts (mail sorters).
  • Americans spend $3 trillion on healthcare a year (most goes towards treating disease).
  • Looking at worldwide stats, the U.S. ranks 43rd for longevity and population health.
  • Type 2 diabetes costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year in the U.S. and it affects nearly 30 million people.

“Get moving. Keep moving. Don’t stop.”

From Mandy Oaklander:

  • Mark Tarnopolsky, who studied the effect of exercise on mice afflicted with a genetic condition that makes them age prematurely found that the mice who exercised were nearly indistinguishable from healthy mice, while the sedentary ones were hanging on by a thread. He is quoted as saying: “I’ve seen all the hype about gene therapy for people with genetic disease, but it hasn’t delivered in the 25 years I have being doing this. The most effective therapy available to my patients right now is exercise.” (He treats kids with severe genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy.)
  • Blood drawn post-exercise shows many positive changes therein. Tarnopolsky notes, “Going for a run is going to improve your skin health, gonadal health. It’s unbelievable.” The scientific benefits of exercise that he lists include: slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision, and more!
  • Well-documented consequences of a sedentary lifestyle include (at end of life): higher risk for many cancers, higher risk for heart disease, higher risk of Alzheimer’s, and early death by any cause… and before “end of life,” the consequences include increased arthritis symptoms, more lower back pain, and increased depression & anxiety.

“If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.”

Studies & Stats she cites:

  • Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardio activity per week.
  • More than 1/2 of the baby boomers report doing no exercise at all.
  • 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive.
  • There is a massive study being launched by the NIH that hopes to prove: exercise is medicine.
  • In cutting PE classes entirely or partially, the results are in: “The majority of American kids and adolescents have so-called exercise-deficit disorder. Meanwhile childhood obesity rates have climbed every year since 1999.”
  • Researchers link exercise to less depression, better memory, & quicker learning.
  • Studies suggest that exercise is the best way to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s.
  • It’s been found that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, feeds the growth of new blood vessels as well as the growth of new brain cells. BDNF, short for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, triggers the growth of new neurons, helps repair brain cells, and helps to protect brain cells too!
  • Exercise has been shown to extend the human lifespan by as much as 5 years.
  • Telomeres, akin to the protective plastic cap at the end of a shoelace, are the “end caps” at the ends of chromosomes. The “fraying,” or shortening, of these telomeres indicates biological aging. Moderate-intensity exercise may slow down this aging. A new small study found that exercise increased the level of a molecule that protects telomeres from shortening.
  • Exercise has been shown (in more than 300 clinical trials) to significantly help people get rehabilitated after a stroke.
  • Research is showing that vigorous exercise appropriate for chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and more. Dr Robert Sallis has been prescribing exercise since the early 1990’s. “It really worked amazingly,” he said, “particularly in my very sickest patients. If I could just get them to do it on a regular basis – even just walking, anything that go their heart rate up a bit – I would see dramatic improvements in their chronic disease, not to mention all of these other things like depression, anxiety, mood and energy levels.” Dr. Bramman of University of Alabama aptly calls exercise “regenerative medicine.”

“Eating alone will not keep a man well. He must also take exercise. – Hippocrates”