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Exercise, the Best Medicine?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Somebody gave me an old copy of Newsweek (April 2007)while waiting for my Clinical Anatomy class to start the other day. What caught my attention was an article regarding exercise boosting our brain functioning. We've known for years that exercise makes the body stronger, strengthens our immune response, and helps in the prevention of many diseases, most especially cardiovascular disease. It also is an important factor for diabetic individuals. But it is my first time to read something associating it with brainpower.

It was actually a study done on kids (3rd to 5th graders) in the University of Illinois. In this study the kids undertook a statewide standardized test on Math and Reading after they were subjected to classic Physical Exercise routines. And the result showed that the fit ones performed better. Although the result of this study is not yet definitive enough, I see nothing wrong if we advocate this not only to kids but to everybody in general. This is the reason why teachers in that area of the world are pushing on making PE class a daily routine (at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise) for kids.

In another study, researchers found out that individuals who undergone a three- month aerobic workout regimen resulted in a faster and more efficient brain functioning. They noted increase in growth of new neurons particularly those in the area controlling learning and memory. So, I think this will lessen memory gap and the forgetfulness we encounter as we age if we only subject ourselves to exercise for life. Yes, it should be for life and not just within a few months. The moment we stop exercising, the new nerve cells will shrink again and will not function as well anymore. And its not just any kind exercise. They recommend aerobic cardiovascular exercise.

The paper says that the effects of exercise are long-lasting to brains that are still developing. It also says that on studies, it has been shown that the risk of developing Alzheimer's are less to those individuals who exercise regularly. How wonderful. Is exercise then the best medicine? I think it is. We only need to discipline ourselves to do it regularly.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 5:18 PM  
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Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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