Exercise IS Medicine

Dr. Ben Buchanan

If there were a pill that had all of the positive benefits of exercise, we would certainly be seeing many advertisements for it on the internet and TV.

It would truly be amazing to have a medication which could:

  1. Lower blood pressure.
  2. Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Lower LDL cholesterol.
  4. Lower triglycerides.
  5. Increase HDL.
  6. Increase bone density.
  7. Strengthen muscles.
  8. Aid in smoking cessation.
  9. Help prevent falls in the elderly.
  10. Lower blood sugar and aid in the treatment of diabetes.
  11. Reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
  12. Improve mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

And the list goes on!

In my opinion, “Exercise” is “The Magic Medicine!

Besides all the positive effects listed above, I am unaware of any medical condition which does not benefit from exercise. Like medications, exercise has a large price range. It can be pricey with expensive equipment, club dues, and travel expenses. Or it can be very inexpensive, such as performing calisthenics at home and walking or running near home, using stairways, etc.

A major challenge for physicians is “Fitting in Fitness.” As a committed exercise enthusiast, I have always found ways to fit in fitness. In fact, I feel that I could fill a book with the many reasons (excuses) I have heard why people don’t have time for exercise.

In the late 90’s I established a new UMA committed called “The Fitness Committee.”  For 10 years I had a monthly column (Fit.Com) in the monthly UMA Bulletin. Each month, I would profile a physician concerning their exercise program. I asked several questions about how exercise helped them in their personal and professional life. After a five-year hiatus, I reactivated the column for several years with the new name of Fit.Doc. Now after an even longer rest, I will be reactivating the column as Fit.Doc+. For each issue of the UMA publication “The Utah Physician,” I will profile a UMA and/or UCEP physician and add an exercise tip or a summary of a recent publication on exercise.

The goal is to encourage physicians to exercise not only to enhance their personal lives but also their professional lives. It has been demonstrated that physicians who exercise or better able to inspire their patients to exercise. I would like to encourage physicians across the “exercise spectrum” to share their stories — from the physician who takes the stairs instead of the elevator to opposite extreme in exercise volume. As a proud “Senior”  exercise enthusiast I would like to encourage “Senior” physicians to share how their exercise programs have been modified to be “Senior Friendly.”

I would encourage anyone to volunteer or to nominate a colleague.  Please contact me at Ben Buchanan (bdb3@comcast.net or 801-209-5935) if you would like to be featured!

Add a little exercise to your day!