There was a time when the average American knew little about maximizing their health, so they turned to people in lab coats to offer a diagnosis and establish a plan. Today we take responsibility for our wellness and recognize many choices – from a local gym membership to a yoga practice – that shows how “exercise as medicine” increases your chance of achieving a long and healthy life.

Fitness and Your Health

Only half of Americans get enough exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; fewer than 25 percent of high school students reach the level of aerobic activity that’s recommended for their age. The resulting health problems are burdensome for individuals, but sedentary lifestyle choices also have economic consequences. Annual health care costs related to a lack of physical activity top $117 billion.

Exercise and Illness

While some benefits of physical exercise seem obvious, such as maintaining a healthy weight, there are insidious consequences for neglecting your body’s need for a workout.

Heart Disease – A sedentary lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Whether you’re genetically at risk for heart problems, a lack of physical activity is a major contributor to developing heart disease. 

Type 2 Diabetes – Because adequate exercise helps control blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and weight, if you get less than 150 minutes of moderate activity per week you risk developing diabetes.

Cancer – Many forms of cancer are linked to a lack of physical activity. Increasing your level of exercise can boost your health and minimize the chance of battling cancers of the colon, breast, and uterus, among others.

Exercise Benefits

Boosting your energy output does more than reduce your waistline. Regular exercise contributes to:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Greater range of motion
  • Enhanced activity performance
  • Stronger bones
  • Boosted immune system

There’s no one-size-fits-all system when you decide to create an exercise program. Finding the form and setting for a new fitness routine is a personal choice. Hiring a personal trainer at a Los Angeles gym is one way to get started – you have the use of industry standard workout equipment plus professional guidance that takes your ability, experience, and goals into consideration.

There are mental health benefits of exercise as well, partly due to the release of endorphins which are natural brain chemicals that enhance a sense of well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, a routine that includes physical activity contributes to:

  • Reduced bouts of worrying
  • Improved confidence
  • Coping with difficult circumstances
  • Broader social engagement
  • More positive mood

If you recognize the medical benefits of exercise but have trouble getting motivated, it may help to analyze what’s holding you back. You may have fears about trying something new or had a bad experience in the past. Sometimes it helps to try group fitness before setting up your own program.

Boosting Exercise through Community Engagement

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) designed an initiative called Exercise is Medicine in an effort to reach health practitioners, students on campuses, and exercise professionals to spread the word about the value of physical activity. People from various fields around the world, from Burbank gym management to international healthcare networks, are joining forces to help the public pick up the pace. The ACSM is making sure the point comes across by bringing the message to people from multiple sources. For instance, if a Providence patient hears their health is at risk due to a lack of exercise, a Burbank Fitness Club trainer can engage them in a course of action.

People engage in fitness more regularly when they develop an exercise community, according to a study at Texas A&M cited in an article by By signing up for gym classes such as HIIT, Spin Class, or Pilates, you form relationships and gain inspiration to maintain or level-up your exercise output. By forming bonds when you work out you get double the benefits – you have new friends with deeper connections and have a positive influence on your fitness habits through added social support.

If you like what you’re doing you’re more likely to stick with it. Whether you’re a marathon runner or looking for a gym in L.A. for the first time, there’s a type of exercise that will meet your needs and it doesn’t have to feel like a bitter pill to swallow. Walk with friends or jump into a class at Burbank Fitness Club – the healing power of exercise is available to you in many different forms.