We’ve all heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine,” but could it really be that exercise is the best medicine? A recent article by Erin Ellis in The Vancouver Sun – titled, “Take five long walks and call me next week” – examines that question (you can find it here). Steven Blair, who teaches at the University of South Carolina, points out that the prevalence of non-communicable diseases can be attributed to “unhealthy lifestyles.” However, he points out that the notion of exercise as a particularly effective form of ‘medicine’ has not yet received considerable attention from the medical community. Dr. Karim Khan, who teaches at UBC, remarks that this could be because research on the matter has been fairly recent, which doesn’t allow for great modifications within the medical community. The article also notes that even if research supports the notion that exercise may effectively treat or prevent certain conditions, the power of the pharmaceutical industry gives drug companies an undeniable influence. Still, both Blair and Khan agree that, as Ellis puts it, “the huge cost benefit of prescribing exercise over expensive drugs will win more converts.”
If you’re like us and you’re interested in reading more on this topic, Exercise is Medicine Canada and The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology are two great resources. Also, stay tuned for more on “exercise as medicine” on our blog this week!
Ellis, Erin. “Take five long walks and call me next week.” The Vancouver Sun. 28 August 2013. http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Take+five+long+walks+call+next+week/8844011/story.html