Exercise: Not a '4-Letter' Word

Originally published: 10-03-13

Most people regard exercise as a hated chore and simply do not make it a part of their lives. They think of it as painful, exhausting and/or boring, so they tell themselves they don’t have the time or ability to do it.  This attitude toward exercise begins for most people in young adulthood and continues for the rest of their lives.  The vast majority of Americans spend the better part of their lives avoiding exercise, and the result of all this physical inactivity is the current state of our senior population:  overweight, chronically diseased, in pain and, at least partially, disabled.

Nobody plans to age the way people are aging in this country.  The truth is, the physical and mental deterioration we are experiencing with age is due primarily to the lack of regular exercise.  This deterioration is not normal aging; it is abnormal, devastating and preventable!  The benefits of exercise are very well documented and indisputable.  I call it the “fountain of youth,” because it preserves the structure and function of the human body most people enjoy in their youth and allows for a normal aging process, characterized by only a very slow and mild functional loss over time.

So, we have a choice.  We can be sedentary, avoiding exercise, and practically guarantee ourselves trouble, maybe big trouble, as we age.  Or, we can engage in 30 to 45 minutes a day of some kind of appropriate physical activity, five to six times a week.  Exercise should not be exhausting or painful; it actually promotes the exact opposite, that is, an energized, pain-free state.  And, there is always time for exercise, because we always make time for activities that are essential!  Think about how much time we devote each day to earning money, which we must have, and how much less time is needed to perform exercise, which is necessary for health, which we must also have.

In our office, we spend a great deal of time discussing exercise with our patients, because it is essential for the achievement and maintenance of significant weight loss.  The importance of exercise in weight loss makes perfect sense, because exercise is essential for health, and the proper and permanent loss of excess weight is a process of health. Exercise must be tailored to the individual, just like any recommendation for the treatment of disease or maintenance of health.  We take a variety of factors into consideration when we “prescribe” exercise to our patients, such as their medical conditions, functional status, available facilities/equipment, and daily schedules.

Now, we are taking this process to the next level!  For a limited time, we are offering each of our patients a complimentary fitness assessment provided by Sandra Smallwood, MA, a certified fitness trainer and physical therapist assistant.  Sandra has extensive experience in the medical, physical therapy, and fitness fields and happens to be very compassionate, understanding and patient.  She fully evaluates each patient’s functional and physical status, enabling us to design an exercise program that is truly tailored to the patient’s capabilities and needs.  She performs these assessments right in our office and is available to follow up with our patients by training them in their homes or their fitness facilities.

Dean Sloan, MD

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