Is Activity a Good Form of Medicine?

Technology to Improve your Activity

Fellowship Square Mesa is a leader in senior care and we pride ourselves at “The Center of Aging Excellence.” We use the latest technology in care and helping our residents age well. We were invited to attend a health fair at Leisure World in Mesa Arizona and bring some of our technology to demonstrate how we can pinpoint any concerns about our health, and it focuses on Activity. In a previous blog post “What Does Your Walk Say About You?” our activity can and gait can tell a lot about our current health. We at Fellowship Square Mesa have technology that can measure your gait and help focus on areas that need to work on and then recommend a path to improve your activity.

Activity and Mortality

The idea of activity as medicine still appears a complicated and puzzling question, and yet it shouldn’t be.  Understanding the relationship between activity to become fit and the impact on mortality dates as far back as 1859, when Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution as “an incessant struggle among individuals with different degrees of fitness within a species.” And over the past 20 years, a host of studies have revealed the relationship between the importance or activity for fitness and how it can help people live longer. Yet, not all physicians prescribe activity to their patients, even those so obviously in need, and no insurance companies decided to reimburse for activity programs.

Probably the most compelling study to date about the relationship between fitness and mortality was conducted by Myers et al. in March of 1992. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the relationship between fitness and survival in over six thousand patients referred to a clinical exercise-test laboratory. What they found is that fitness levels are important predictors of survival in persons with and without cardiovascular disease; greater fitness means longer survival. Other studies have also shown that less fit or less active people, both with and without cardiovascular disease, can improve their survival if they increase their level of fitness through physical activity.

Add Life to Your Years, As Well as Years to Your Life

The American Medical Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs states unequivocally that exercise and physical activity programs can improve the quality of life for the elderly. Limited functional capabilities and “slowing down” are not, and should not, be viewed as inevitable consequences of attaining a certain age. The available scientific data indicate that much of the decline in function of the physiologic system is dependent upon the degree to which the system is used. In other words, “Move it or lose it.” Regardless of how old you are, if you try to eat right and be more active, you’ll live better and probably longer.

The old adage, “add life to your years, as well as years to your life” has considerable merit. A sound activity program can contribute to the quality of your life in countless ways. Are the positive consequences resulting from an active life style worth the effort involved? Without question, activity leading to higher levels of fitness is one of the best forms of medicine.

 

Symbria Wellness Services -April 2019

Contributing Author-Dr. Thomas Sattler 

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