Science and technology have brought us several advances that make many aspects of our life tasks easier. Now, that same research has trained its innovation energy on pills that would offer some of the benefits of exercise…without the effort. Even the best case scenario for the pill will not show it to be a complete substitute for a good, old-fashioned sweat session. Here’s why….
Exercise builds strength
One of the most significant benefits of exercise is the impact it has on heart health. Working out at a level that increases your heart rate (you will not be able to carry out a normal conversation at this pace) strengthens the muscle and improves cardiovascular health overall. While there are pills that can help with aspects of cardiovascular health, such as cholesterol, there are none that strengthen the heart as well as the entire system. At least for the foreseeable future pills cannot duplicate the benefits of increasing the heart rate to improve cardiovascular health.
Working out also builds muscle. The act of stressing the muscle, completing repetitions and exerting effort toward exhaustion is what builds muscle tone and strength. Despite the hope we invest in products that promise to burn fat and build muscle the evidence does not support these claims. While it is true that there are pills that can support the physiological process of muscle development (for example those containing protein and amino acids) there are no pills that can stand in for the process itself.
Exercise adds to a sense of well-being
In addition to the physical benefits of exercise there are a number of additional outcomes that make lacing up worthwhile. These include improved cognitive function, reduced stress, insomnia, depression and anxiety as well as increased creativity and confidence. These benefits are owed, in part, to the chemicals that are released with exercise. In some cases just a brisk 10 minute walk is enough to ease anxiety. Although there are pills that can ease anxiety and improve other measures of well-being there are often side effects. An added bonus of exercise is the feeling of control and sense of accomplishment that is available to us all – no prescription or co-payment required.
Successful weight loss requires lifestyle change
It is true that there are pills to help with weight loss (a benefit of exercise) but we also know that sustained weight loss, and the positive health outcomes it brings are best achieved through exercise.
The best way to better health is to face facts. As much as we would like to believe a miracle pill can help couch potatoes shape up it just isn’t true. Exercise offers a wide array of physical and emotional health benefits that cannot be duplicated. Face the facts and embrace fitness as the path to better health.