27/12/2020 # Home
“Exercise is Medicine” that is a mantra widely and unquestionably accepted by the medical community as well as the general public.
It is, although, primarily perceived more figuratively with the simple understanding that a lifestyle incorporating exercise is good for health and is thereby “medicine.” However, with growing knowledge of the biological mechanisms underlying the health-promoting benefits of training, its popularity has developed a more literal and technical meaning.
There is no question that in the world of metabolic syndrome and related diseases, drug prescriptions, replaced exercise prescriptions (Maier, 2018). Medical students are often taught the complex mechanisms and biological targets for a variety of pharmacological treatments for conditions related to metabolic syndrome, but what is less emphasized is that many of these drugs are, in fact, exercise mimetics(Powers & Howley,2018). In other words, they mimic a particular biological effect of exercise.
Physical activity is being promoted as a way to prevent or treat a range of chronic health conditions, including mental illness. In conventional medications for type II, diabetes and dyslipidemia are PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor) or AMPK (adenosine monophosphate kinase) agonist/activators. These molecules are the biological targets for these drugs because they regulate and stimulate processes like lipid breakdown, glucose uptake, and mitochondrial biogenesis, all of which are beneficial to improved metabolic health status.
Exercise is also an agonist for these very same molecular targets that are implicated in many of the physiological mechanisms through which exercise improves metabolic health(Powers & Howley,2018). The normal deterioration of physiological function with age can be reversed with regular endurance and strength training. The benefit of participation in a regular exercise program includes improved biomarkers such as higher HDL, lower LDL, Improved insulin sensitivity, higher VO2max, and lower blood pressure. However, training effects may take longer to realize. We believe even from a technical perspective; exercise is indeed medicine now only if exercise prescriptions were given more attention.
Maier, J. M. (2018). Exercise is medicine? A critical examination of the promotion of exercise for mental healthcare. University of Maryland, 10–27. Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.
Powers, S. K., & Howley, E. T. (2018). Exercise physiology: Theory and application to fitness and performance. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.