Dear TIME: Exercise Will Make You Healthy

So I open up my Time Magazine this week, and there’s the title: “Why exercise won’t make you thin” http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1914857,00.html

What? Please, do not listen to this!
Let’s look at this. What does it mean to you?
This article claims that exercise. contrary to research, is not an effective health tool.
Really? I am a member of the American College for Sports Medicine. I‘m the spokesperson for the ACSM’s - Exercise as Medicine Program.
It is needless to say, I am in gross disagreement this article.

The author claims that losing weight matters more than being aerobically fit and preventing heart disease.
The article states exercise makes you hungrier, which makes you fat. Oh please!

The American College of Sports Medicine released an evidence-based scientific stand in early 2009, that physical activity has a huge impact on weight loss.
Contrary to the idea that exercising produces hunger so uncontrollable that it leads to loss of self-control and weight gain, this study confirms what we know: exercise and physical movement is key to maintaining a healthy weight, and healthy lifestyle.
A recent study from University of Pittsburgh found that overweight and obese women didn’t need any more calories when exercising regularly, than when they were sedentary.
Exercise does require some effort, and eating requires some self control, but it’s all in the name of a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
Of course, it takes a little work - wipe the shock off your face. The rewards are countless.
We’re all sitting around talking about health care reform, right? Isn’t this what it’s all about?
When you are healthy, when you move more, the economic expenditure for your health are reduced.
Just a few weeks back, I took part in the Weight of the Nation, produced by the Center for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine, and it was all over the front page of every newspaper: Obesity accounts for $147 billion in health care costs each year.

Really, isn’t health what we all want? We want to lead an enjoyable, energetic life? Have some fun!
Dance. Laugh. Run around! Don’t live in a gym, just MOVE!
Exercise has benefits that no single pill, or prescription will ever cure
It prevents heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and depression. It is the health tool we all need. And we have all of the scientific facts to back it up.

In all the discussions of exercise and weight management there is really strong evidence in all of these great papers we write, physical activity is an essential component in all we do.

Physical activity is one of the most behavioral factors in improving weight loss outcomes.
Participation in an exercise program is the very best predictor of maintaining weight that was lost. Physical activity seals the deal when losing weight, and it makes it so much easier to be able to keep off whatever you’ve taken off, and it will certainly help you as you go along.
For years, I’ve been explaining to you that it’s a simple equation: calories expended (and I don’t care what you do - run, play, jump, sweat) must exceeded calories consumed.
This is not Noble Prize winning mathematics…
It is a myth that exercise leads to hunger, a complete myth.
Look at the gym, the track, anywhere you see people moving - if that was the case, wouldn’t everyone running be the fattest of all?
One thing I’ve found is that patients say physical activity keeps off the weight; but they also feel better. Learning how to practice stress management; getting up and moving is the best way to do that.
Studies show that when students in school are more active - when they play, and enjoy recess, and move - they improve test scores, have better attendance and experience fewer sick days and behavioral problems.

You want to debate Health Care Reform? Physical activity has got to be a part of any of those discussions, for every dollar invested in a healthy workplace, you gain $3-6 in reduced absenteeism, and improved attitude. Employees enjoy their work and they feel better. Physical activity exercise all play a role in healthcare reform - cost savings in healthy lifestyles help give us a broader coverage and that includes the underserved. There are stimulus funds out there. Shouldn’t we be using them to get healthy?
There’s a lot of talk about electronic forms and medical records, but we want physical activity so that it is tracked as a real vital sign, allowing us to consider reimbursement for healthy lifestyles.

You need to understand that this is about people, schools, groups, everyone realizing that so much of this is about getting up and moving more. Are there enough parks around? Bike paths? Are we doing any of that?
In this day and age, to have an article that basically slams exercise? C’mon! Get a clue!
Exercise is all about medicating with movement.
Who needs a pill, when you’ve got your sneakers?! !

Dr. Pam Peeke
Chief Medical Correspondent for Nutrition and Fitness

Edited August 13, 2009 at 11:48 am

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