Exercise is Medicine
By Stefan P. Mortensen, Associated Professor, DM Sc.
Cardiovascular and Renal Research, Health, University of Southern Denmark (SDU)
It is expected that 60-70 % of all chronic diseases that result in early death will be lifestyle related in 2020, and major risk factors are obesity and lack of physical activity. It is well known that exercise training can prevent the development of lifestyle related diseases. In recent years, the idea that exercise training can be used as a treatment for many chronic diseases has advanced. Examples of disease states that can be effectively treated with exercise training include type 2 diabetes, essential hypertension and several cardiovascular diseases. In some instances, exercise training has been capable of completely substituting medical treatment, whereas in other cases, it can be a supplement to traditional medicine. Given that lack of time is the most cited barrier to participate in regular physical activity, the challenge is not only to find the optimal exercise regime for treating each condition, but finding an effective exercise regime that can be incorporated into daily life.