Diet Modification and Exercise Help when You Are Ill for a Long Time

Over the past few decades, considerable evidence has accumulated indicating that regular exercise reduces symptoms and improves well-being among individuals with long-term (chronic) diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and osteoporosis.1

Apart from diet modification, no intervention other than physical exercise offers greater promise to reduce the risk of almost all chronic diseases simultaneously. Based on the benefits of exercise in the prevention of chronic illnesses, the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C. has recommended one hour of moderate physical activity daily in order to gain weight-independent health benefits. This recommendation is in agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) report, which concluded that both aerobic and resistance exercise are beneficial in reducing the incidence of chronic disorders.2

It has been noted that most of the chronic disorders and their associated risk factors are caused due to physical inactivity either in a direct or indirect way. Obesity is one such disorder, the risk of which is increased with physical inactivity. Not just exercises, but other physical activities have been noted to decrease the incidence of a wide number of chronic disorders such as obesity, high blood pressure and heart disorders. Physical exercise benefits our bodies in a many ways. Physical activity is also noted to activate certain genes (basic building blocks of our body) that primarily promote health and enhance physical performance.3

It has been observed that human bodies fail to function properly to maintain health when there is a lack of physical activity. This was proven in a study which noted that the incidence of chronic diseases was very low in societies where physical work was a large part of daily life. Further, the study noted that introduction of regular, physical exercise in a sedentary society with high risks of chronic disorders reduced the occurrence of such disorders to a significant extent. 3

References

  1. Pedersen BK, Saltin B. Evidence for Prescribing Exercise as Therapy in Chronic Disease. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2006; 16 Suppl 1: 3–63.
  2. Diet, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser. 2003; 916: 1–149.
  3. Booth FW, Gordon SE, Carlson CJ, Hamilton MT. Waging War on Modern Chronic Diseases: Primary Prevention Through Exercise Biology. J Appl Physiol. 2000; 88(2): 774–787.

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