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Exercise IS Medicine!

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Shannon MaloolyShannon Malooly

The beautiful attorney in pink, Elle Woods, from the movie Legally Blonde, said it best when she said, "Exercise builds endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don't shoot their husbands!" I mean, if that's not reason enough to get exercising, I don't know what is!

In all seriousness, the word "medicine," the thought of medicine and the effects of medicine have always had a very negative effect on my psyche. I remember having to hold my nose to swallow cloying syrup that would burn my throat and then instantly sour my stomach. I used to think to myself, "Great, now my tummy hurts too!" Then, there was good ol' Mary Poppins who admitted herself that medicine was awful tasting and tried to persuade us to take a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. It was always hard for me to understand how something so awful could make me feel better.

The exact same mentality goes for exercise. Let's be real. Everything in that weight room is so heavy! Sometimes, I feel like a rat on a wheel going nowhere and thinking about how my legs hurt and that I'm tired. Everyone keeps touting the benefits: you'll feel better, you'll have more energy, your blood pressure will improve and wait for it... you'll be able to come off some of these meds you are on! Wait a second, you mean to tell me that this Exercise IS Medicine concept is not something new!?

How did we get to this place we are in where preventable and treatable diseases and conditions are at an all-time high in this country and the world? According to the United Health Foundation, more than 100 million U.S. adults, or 43% of the population, will be considered obese by 2018, which will add an additional $344 billion to the already $1.5 trillion in medical costs associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

My grandma taught me that the very best exercise I could do every day was pushing myself away from the table, and she wasn't far off. All of us know that weight gain or weight loss is a direct result of calories in vs. calories out. In our clubs, we preach the importance of having a healthy balance of nutrition and exercise. We offer weight loss programs and nutrition programs that include weigh-ins and meal planning. But, let's get real folks. Two out of every five people are either obese or borderline obese.

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