Exercise Is Medicine

This is the name of a good book by science writer Judy Foreman I read recently, both inspirational and informational. It is also the name of a health initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Judy’s book is unrelated, but she got permission from them to use the same title.

The book covers how exercise helps delay the aging process and reduce risk of various major diseases. An interesting chapter describes how exercise keeps our mitochondria healthier as we age. There are also a lot of inspiring anecdotes about exercise and healthy aging.

In the chapter “boning up” she concludes that the rate of bone loss can be slowed with aging, but that bone loss cannot be reversed. I had a bone to pick with that conclusion (pun intended). I was able to rather easily find studies showing increase in bone density with the right exercises [1]. It is true that not any exercise will do. Even “weight-bearing” exercises like walking might not be enough. But exercises that induce impact or put a good amount of load on the bone (like heavy resistance training), are effective. Good exercise examples are covered here. If you already have severe bone loss (osteopenia), and especially if you have osteoporosis, this should be done under medical supervision.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. Gotta go, time to take my medicine!


  1. Pamela S. Hinton, Peggy Nigh, John Thyfault. Effectiveness of resistance training or jumping-exercise to increase bone mineral density in men with low bone mass: A 12-month randomized, clinical trialBone, 2015; 79: 203 DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.06.008

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