Follow R. Todd Twitter Facebook
Email R. Todd Email
Health Care
Mar 1, 2016

Exercise Sharpens The Brain, Reduces Pain And Prevents Disease

Sponsored Content provided by R. Todd Shaver - Doctor of Chiropractic , Shaver Chiropractic & Natural Medicine

Exercise may be the closest thing to a universal cure. There is a large and growing body of research suggesting that exercise improves brain health and cognitive function, reduces pain and helps to prevent disease. However, only 15 percent of Americans regularly engage in vigorous exercise and 60 percent of Americans admit to getting no exercise at all. Let’s survey several reasons why you should consider making exercise part of your routine.
 
Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the two biggest killers in the United States and exercise reduces the risk of both. The National Cancer Institute reports that exercise may significantly reduce the risk of various individual cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and lung cancer. Thirty minutes of exercise per day may decrease your overall risk of cancer by 50 percent, according to the Journal of Nutrition. The American Heart Association confirms that “being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke;” toward that end, guidelines for exercise frequency, duration and intensity are offered at www.heart.org.
 
Exercise also helps protect brain health and even build brain mass. The journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience has reported that exercise improves executive function (for example, problem-solving, reasoning, planning and decision making), multitasking and working memory. Newsweek magazine has reported that exercise improves “not just executive function, but a broad variety of skills ranging from math to logic to reading.”
 
Patients with pain (especially chronic pain) are often counseled to avoid exercise. However, generally speaking, that is bad advice. For example, exercise can reduce the pain and disability associated with degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis). Both aerobic exercise and resistance training (such as weightlifting and using exercise bands or Nautilus equipment) can elicit this positive outcome. Exercise also brightens the mental outlook of arthritic patients; research subjects reported improved quality of life as a result of exercise.
 
Back pain sufferers also benefit from exercise. Years ago, it was common for back pain sufferers to be prescribed extended periods of bed rest. However, we now know that more than a few days of bed rest can be counterproductive. A study conducted at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that chronic back pain patients who were involved in a six-week exercise program demonstrated “statistically significant decreases in pain and disability scores.”
 
Chronic headaches may be relieved by exercise because exercise causes the body to release pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. In a European study that engaged headache patients in a six-week exercise program, it was observed that endorphin levels increased with exercise and that this was associated with a reduction in migraine episodes. Published in the medical journal Cephalgia, the study concluded that “exercise was found to have beneficial effects on all migraine parameters.”
 
Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be reduced with exercise. Fibromyalgia sufferers may believe that they are too fatigued to exercise; however, there is a great benefit to be derived if fibromyalgia sufferers resolve to ease into an exercise regimen. A British Medical Journal study including two groups of fibromyalgia patients assigned one group to an exercise program while the second group was assigned to twice-weekly relaxation classes. After 12 weeks, results showed that significantly more of the exercise group rated themselves as “much better” or “very much better” than did the relaxation group. Exercise-related benefits were reported to have been maintained or even further improved one year later.
 
Even those suffering from chronic emotional pain and depression can benefit from exercise. Research conducted at Duke University demonstrated that exercise is more effective for depressed patients than the antidepressant drug Zoloft. In this four-month study, three groups of depressed patients were observed: one group of patients exercised on bicycle or treadmill for 30 minutes three times a week; a second group used Zoloft but did not exercise; and a third group used both exercise and Zoloft. Six months after the conclusion of the experiment, it was observed that only 8 percent of the exercise-only group experienced relapses of depression, while the Zoloft and Zoloft/exercise groups suffered 38 percent and 31 percent relapse, respectively. Obviously, if you take Zoloft or other antidepressant drugs, this is not to be interpreted as counsel to discontinue medication without consulting your prescriber; rather, use this information to facilitate conversation with your prescriber regarding strategies to reduce or eliminate your dependence on drugs.
 
There simply is not sufficient room here to fully describe the health benefits related to regular exercise. When it comes to exercise, “Just do it.” People should not over-exert themselves, nor should they engage in activity which significantly aggravates a condition. It is important to start slowly and work up to an exercise regimen which best suits your needs and abilities. Talk to your health care provider about what is best for you.
 
My practice offers therapeutic lifestyle programs including fitness training sessions with our exercise physiologist, laboratory analysis, doctor-prescribed dietary and supplement protocols, weekly nutritional counseling, massage therapy and chiropractic care. Consider one of these programs if you have chronic pain, need to lose weight or simply wish to reduce your risk for disease and improve your quality of life.
 
Dr. R. Todd Shaver is a chiropractic physician at Shaver Chiropractic & Natural Medicine. As a distinguished fellow of chiropractic biophysics, Dr. Shaver utilizes spinal adjustment and other chiropractic physical medicine procedures to address injury and pain and to promote wellness. He is Wilmington’s only chiropractic physician to have achieved specialty status (D.I.C.C.P.) in chiropractic pediatrics and prenatal care. To learn more, go to www.shavernaturalmedicine.com, call (910) 452-5555, or contact his office at [email protected].
 

Shaver 16feb blk
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Rising Prices, Unit Sales and Housing Inventories

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington
Lyleheadshot2017 1251720228

Community Service PTO Benefits Your Company, as Well as Your Community

JC Lyle - Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry
Hinnant

Intellectual Property Can Add Value to Your Hospitality Business

Chris Hinnant - Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, PLLC

Trending News

Untappd Leads Pack Of Local Firms On Inc. 5000 List

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 15, 2018

NHRMC Buys Wilmington Property From International Paper

Cece Nunn - Aug 15, 2018

Wilmington Brewing Co. Plans Expansion

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 16, 2018

RiverLights Submits Plans For Additional Homes

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 14, 2018

Wilmington Eye Merges With Coastal Carolina Eye Clinic

Johanna Cano - Aug 14, 2018

In The Current Issue

Woman Owned Businesses On The Rise

Women are starting and growing their businesses at a rapid pace in the state, including in a variety of sectors in the Wilmington area....


Preparing For Managed Care Change

The shift to Medicaid-based managed care in North Carolina should happen by 2019. Under the new system, most Medicaid recipients will have t...


Low Impact Building With High Rewards

Pam Fasse, president and licensed general contractor for Fasse bldgs., says that she always gravitated toward project management and design...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2018 Power Breakfast - Dishing on the Restaurant Biz
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes