Sally Singer Horwatt, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist 

 

Exercise helps your head

June 30, 1999 

This article is one of a series of radio spots prepared by Sally Singer Horwatt, Ph.D. for 
WAGE 1200 AM RADIO

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It is now clear that physical activity is an independent determinant of physical health and well-being.  Exercise has a statistically significant graded response between differing levels of physical activity and onset of coronary artery disease.  Those people ambling down the treadmill, reading books, not sweating are better off than if they were reading on a couch.  But most men and women attain the level of fitness associated with the major reduction in mortality by engaging in exercise equivalent to a brisk 30 to 60 minute walk. 
    
Although exercise alone is not an effective treatment for obesity, it is important in the treatment and prevention of obesity.  Exercise does not alter resting metabolic rate, except through the favorable changes in body composition
observed in moderate exercisers. 
  
And as an adjunctive therapy to diet in the control of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, exercise can be more confidently recommended.  Here, the most exciting data is in the role of exercise in the prevention of non-insulin-dependent diabetes-independent of obesity, hypertension and parental history of diabetes. 
    
A new review of the research shows that exercise is an effective, but underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.  The review, published in the June issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, published by the American Psychological Association, concludes that regular exercise is a viable, cost-effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and may be useful in the comprehensive treatment of more severe episodes of the disorder. I tell people, "don't wait until you feel like exercising.  Just do it!"  
    
I happen to exercise first thing in the morning. Driving to the health club, particularly in the dark of winter, is an act of faith because I can't believe this s going to do any good.  Then, the first 6 minutes on that treadmill is the worst
6 minutes of my day.  By 10 minutes into it, my heart is going, the juices are flowing, I recognize the other  habitues of the club, and I'm happier.  By the end of 40 minutes, all sweaty and energized, I don't even need a cup of coffee.  
     
Don't wait until you feel like it!  You'll miss out on something good.  

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