Exercise as medicine

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prescription for exercise

Exercise as medicine, for Covid we need a vaccine. What about 21st Century chronic diseases? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a vaccine. Imagine the difference that would make to the health budget.

Obviously, that vaccine would need to have some punch behind it to guard against heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. And  it would be good if it could also enable us to lose weight and gain muscle while reducing anxiety and depression.

Well guess what? There is such a vaccine. It’s called exercise. At refresh YOU we believe you can use exercise as medicine.

Doctors often say that if drug companies could put the benefits of exercise into a pill it would make them billions of dollars and no wonder.

Jump onto Google, key in just about any condition or complaint you can think of plus the word exercise and we guarantee it’ll be in the list of solutions. It is a pity exercise and commitment to consistent attendance isn’t covered by medicare.

The best prescription

Here’s a selection of the examples we found – click on the number after each section if you want to read the science behind each finding. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear how outdoor group fitness at refresh YOU has transformed your health.

  1. Regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by 30 per cent and of Alzheimer’s by 45 per cent. 1
  2. It’s been shown that sessions of HIIT are particularly effective in reducing colon cancer (2) and reducing cholesterol levels. 3
  3. Running can prevent age-related macular degeneration. 4
  4. Just 30 minutes of exercise per week has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. 5
  5. Exercise can reduce the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and heart disease even in children. (6). And it’s never too late to start as it can also reverse damage from heart ageing. 7
  6. Exercise can be as effective as prescribed drugs to lower high blood pressure . 8
  7. Outdoor exercise, in particular, has been found to be associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression and increases in energy and enjoyment. 9
  8. While it’s well known that exercise will build bone density when younger, the latest research from Australia shows that it can even reverse osteoporosis in older people. 10
  9. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis, helping improve mobility and flexibility of joints, muscle strength, posture and balance. It can decrease pain, tiredness, muscle tension and stress and also control weight which relieves the strain on arthritic joints. 11
  10. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Australia and exercise helps prevent it with those in high fitness groups experiencing a 68 per cent lower risk than those who weren’t so active.12. That’s because it prevents arteries clogging up, lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, stabilises blood sugar and reduces cholesterol. 13
  11. As we age, we lose muscle – it’s called Sarcopenia and it’s a strong predictor of disability and morbidity and loss of function, independence and quality of life. The only way to prevent it is strength training. 14
  12. Exercise reduces sleep complaints and insomnia with the effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appearing to be similar to those of sleeping pills. 15 Moderate aerobic exercise is particularly effective at relieving insomnia and increasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep – the stage where your body restores and replenishes itself, healing your muscles and tissues to prepare for more exercise. 16


  • Check out Christine Bakker’s story on how exercise classes at refresh YOU transformed her health.