Each day in my practice of Family Medicine brings new stories of lost or compromised bodily function. A 60 year old grandmother can’t play with her grandchildren because of severe back pain brought on by bending and lifting. A 42 year old man is exhausted and losing muscle size and strength and has been found to have low testosterone. An 80 year old woman can’t stand from a chair without assistance. Many older patients easily lose balance and fall breaking a hip or wrist bone or worse striking their head. Many in middle age or younger suffer from chronic aches and pains and stiffness thinking that it’s simply a natural part of aging. Sadly, I often hear a patient who can’t play golf anymore or take a hike they once loved due to some physical ailment. Other than lacking a healthy diet, what’s the missing element with most of these? It’s an intelligently integrated and progressive exercise program like I discussed on Monday. Our bodies break down from misuse and disuse. Unfortunately a daily run is not the answer. While giving some benefit, it can result in overuse injuries, chronic back pain and upper body muscle loss. Running and walking, however, integrated into an overall plan can be very helpful. Such well designed and managed plans bring improvements in cardiorespiratory and metabolic efficiency and improve lipid profiles and hormonal function. Bones and muscles strengthen, while fat mass decreases and muscle mass increases. Balance, agility and strength improve which on one end of the age spectrum reduces falls and on the other end allows participation in sports and other vigorous activities. Power, endurance and flexibility are critical for many life functions. Sitting on a couch or chair with the remote is the only activity that I can think of requiring none of these adaptations. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Start exercising today and if it’s practical come check out VitalSigns and let us help you do it safely and with maximum benefit!