By Helaine Krasner, RDN, CDN

Exercise is defined as bodily exertion for the sake of developing or maintaining physical fitness. We don’t typically think of exercise as a valid treatment for our medical issues, but an overwhelming body of research supports this important component for health.

Exercise in the proper dosage is an effective prescription for prevention, treatment, and management of over 40 common health conditions. So much so, that there is now a global health initiative called Exercise is Medicine®, which is managed by the American College of Sports Medicine and was developed in partnership with the American Medical Association.

A goal of Exercise is Medicine is for health care providers to include an assessment of physical activity as part of standard care, recommend physical activity as appropriate, and refer to a health and fitness professional as needed. Similar to medications, exercise is most effective in the appropriate dose, which will vary by person and throughout one’s lifetime.

Whether your goal is to lose or maintain weight, decrease risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease, or improve your mental health, exercise is universally recognized as an important part of a treatment plan. Other benefits of exercise include: better blood sugar control, improved mental acuity, stronger muscles and bones, reduced risk of falls, improved sleep quality, and increased energy level.

A good strategy is to make a realistic assessment of your current fitness level and start slow. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts and is able to handle more activity. If you’re not sure where to begin, think of activities enjoyed as a kid. Consider swimming, biking, dancing, playing basketball or even hula-hooping. Reconnecting with activities from our youth can help us stay young at heart as well as healthy in mind and body.

Now that you know all the fabulous ways exercise can improve your life, what are you waiting for? Get moving!



Exercise is Medicine. Accessed August 8, 2018.

Benefits of exercise. Updated January 5, 2018, Accessed August 8, 2018.


Helaine Krasner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes great pride in helping our Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients achieve their health and weight loss goals.