If you’ve been to our clinic, you’ve probably heard one of us attest to this, and it’s because exercise truly is one of the most important things we can do as humans to be rounded, health, and with limited pain! But…why? It’s the most important question you can and should ask about any supposed panacea, and I always tell people to never trust someone without a very good answer to that question!
Let’s start with an important clarification: while exercise is an overarching term, it’s about as inclusive as the word “medicine” is to things like ibuprofen and penicillin. What all exercises have in common is that they address movement and progressive adaptations by imposing demands on various systems. How they do this and how they are dosed is about as varied as why different medicines are given, but with a very important difference: exercise is about the principle of the body’s ability to adapt to imposed demands! What that means is that almost any system challenged slowly, deliberately, and within a safe range will begin to adapt to better withstand that change.
If I stress a muscle, of course it grows bigger and stronger (although if I stress it differently it may instead evolve its energy systems to allow you to go longer with less fatigue!), but as it turns out this is also true of stressing bone, nerve, and exchange systems like our lungs. That slow, and deliberate adaptation is huge, because it means that any system you can stress can be improved if you can find the right introductory levels, but this means that things as complex as your cardiovascular system which affects your blood pressure, your energy supply chain which affects fat storage and cholesterol and sugar levels, and because almost all exercise affects our nervous system activating and deactivating different musculature, we can use this neurological re-education to affect pain and balance as well.
I suppose this really actually challenges our big quote though, exercise might not be the best medicine, it might be that your body is the cure for a lot to begin with! Exercise might just be the perfect catalyst to make that medicine work!