“I think if exercise were a drug, it would be the most powerful drug ever invented on the planet.” — Mark Hyman, M.D.

By Ken Reed

In 2015, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges put out a report calling exercise a “miracle cure.” This wasn’t a conclusion based on one or two studies. There are many, many randomized controlled trials on exercise today. A huge meta-analysis examined the effect of exercise therapy on outcomes in people with chronic diseases and found numerous benefits.

“I think if exercise were a drug, it would be the most powerful drug ever invented on the planet,” according to Dr. Mark Hyman, founder and senior advisor for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
“It has the ability to regulate almost every physiological function for the better and to avert many of the chronic diseases that we have, from heart disease to diabetes, cancer, dementia. [Exercise] is incredibly important for mental health, mood, or your microbiome, your immune system, and it regulates many of the pathways that are incredibly powerful for longevity.”
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get exercise. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment. Health-enhancing exercise can come via organized team sports, pick-up games, individual sports and exercise programs, or a wide-variety of physical activities, including basic yard work and gardening. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, it’s also important to work in some strength-building activities. As Hyman says, “Muscle is basically the currency of longevity.”

It’s important to note, however, that an exercise routine isn’t just about longevity, it’s about being healthier and being able to lead an active lifestyle today.

“To me, it’s not about living to be 120, it’s about feeling great now,” says Hyman.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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