Hippocrates said, “Even when all is known, the care of a man is not yet complete, because eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.”
Hippocrates was a Greek physician who is referred to as the father of medicine. He thought exercise as important as diet for prevention of illness.
In the 20th century, there was an enormous shift away from prevention to treatment. This was due to advancement in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.
As retirees, we need to shift our focus from treatment back to prevention. Activity is an important element for maintaining our health and warding off illness.
Two Groups Of Illness Affected By Staying Active
There are many types of illnesses. Let’s look at two groups that are affected by staying active.
1) Chronic Diseases
Regular exercise and activity can improve your health. They can also help you handle symptoms you may have.
a. Diabetes – Activity can help insulin lower your blood sugar level.
b. Arthritis – Activity, and exercise can reduce pain and strengthen muscles in joints.
c. Back pain – Activity can improve the muscle function in your back and help reduce symptoms.
d. Heart disease – Activity and exercise can improve your heart health. Most rehabilitation after a heart attack is centered around physical exercise.
2) Ordinary Sickness
Ordinary sicknesses would include the common cold, flu, respiratory infection, and even stress.
Research suggests that exercise and activity can be effective in preventing and treating sickness.
a. Cold, flu, respiratory infection – Activities such as bicycle rides and walks boost the immune system. A strong immune system can ward off such sickness.
b. Stress – Activity can reduce stress by relaxing your mind and body. This is important. Stress can negatively affect your immune system. This would make you more prone to sickness.
As retired adults, we need to get back to prevention rather than treatment. Hippocrates believed exercise was as important as diet for preventing illness.
As we age there are many chronic diseases that can trouble us. And there are annoying germs that give us common sicknesses.
Staying active will help ward off illness. If our bodies are active and healthy we can prevent some illnesses. We can reduce the symptoms and recover more quickly when we do get ill.
We will look at recovering quicker from illness in the next post.
Let’s go take a walk!