The British Journal for Clinical Pharmacology recently stated, " The beneficial effects of regular exercise for the promotion of health and cure of diseases have been clearly shown. In review, we would like to postulate the idea that exercise can be considered as a drug. Exercises cause a myriad of beneficial effects for health, including promotion of health and life span...."
I have heard over the years from patients, physicians, and friends alike, as I try to educate them on the importance of exercise, that I am only talking the talk because I am a physical therapist. With no hesitation they let me know that if I wasn't, I wouldn't be pushing the exercise solution.This response is a bit disturbing. Yes, it does help that I am a person in the field that happens to promote healthy solutions to a stronger everyday lifestyle, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Yes, it is my passion and yes, I do read and study this area as much as possible because I believe so strongly in it! That said, I have been blessed to be in a field that promotes healthy living in every way. I believe in a lifestyle of as much balance as possible in our physical, emotional and spiritual areas. So, if this is my vocation (which is more than a job in my book) so be it! I do like the quote above, from the group that makes their living through educating people on proper medication needs. Isn't it interesting that they too are promoting the importance of exercise?
As a society we are relying far too heavily on prescription drugs. As a society, at times, we are looking for an easy fix for pain as well as innumerable ailments. Exercise does require more of an effort than taking a drug, but are all the medications you're taking helping you to live a longer and more beneficial life? Are the drug companies always thinking about the good of your lifestyle? Let's look at a few numbers that I would like to bring to your attention. In 2013, we (in the USA) spent 263 billion dollars on drugs for our health. We have all heard the story that the cost of our medication is high because the drug companies spend so much on research and development. I have bought into this fixed idea but unfortunately this fixed idea is not true! Most drug companies are spending 14% of their sales on research and development and 28% on marketing and promotion. Therefore, if the drug companies sold 263 billion in 2015, they spent approximately 37 billion on research and 74 billion on marketing their drugs and medication. Did you notice the amount spent on marketing? This would leave 152 billion left for profit and/or other expenses. Isn't there some way we can reduce the cost of the medications we actually need? I know personally, that my cholesterol medication is extremely expensive and I know many patients struggling to pay for the medications they truly do need.
If you are beginning to get a bit confused with my message, I can understand! The message I had hoped to convey in this months e newsletter is twofold. The first: Exercise is necessary and even the experts who believe in the importance of prescribing the correct medication for us, have studied and believe this to be so. The second: We need to figure out a way to help reduce the costs of medication. I think we can all agree our medication bills are going through the roof. Many of our patients can't afford the medication they do need, let alone the medication they don't. We must find a way to reduce medication costs so we can afford the medications that truly are necessary. Part of the way this can be done is to start exercising more often. And by exercising, I mean educated exercise, as I believe that each of us needs direction. Why? Because many of us don't know where to begin and usually begin by exercising or doing activities too aggressively. We then have pain, and stop all activity, believing we need to rest. When we rest, we stop. When we stop we may turn to medications and this my friends is the wrong message and could be alleviated by us giving you the proper and personalized exercise program that fits YOU!
Please take control of your life and challenge all of us in the medical field. Make sure, you need all the medication you are presently taking. Make sure you begin some kind of exercise activity or program to help you get stronger and healthier everyday!