Prescription: Exercise

During periodic fits of hypochondria, I lean back in my easy chair and begin researching everything I can to figure what is wrong with me that day. I don’t want to do actually anything about it – I just want to label my theoretical problem.
The day I decided to address my family’s tendency to diabetes, I perused websites and read publications on how to lower the risk or reduce a borderline count to normal.
You would think every author had read the same text book and copied it word for word. “Exercise is very important in managing diabetes.” succinctly states.
Right. But some days it hurts so much to move that before I did anything I needed to research joint stiffness.
Skipping over Google’s bazillion responses, I went straight to the website for the Arthritis Foundation:
“It was thought for many years that if you had arthritis you should not exercise because it would damage your joints. Now, however, research has shown that exercise is an essential tool in managing your arthritis.” It went on to say that arthritis robs one of mobility and flexibility and that exercise is a perfect antidote!
I don’t want a perfect antidote that mandates moving out of my lounge chair. The repetitive statement “get up and exercise” really stressed me. After an excursion to the powder room, I elected irritable bowel syndrome as my next illness.
I quickly scanned all the symptoms including advice from the Mayo Clinic’s website: “Treatment usually includes lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and reducing stress.”
With the avalanche of web doctors ganging up against me and recommending exercise, my heart skipped a beat so I checked out a friendly sounding website regarding heart problems: said, “Coronary heart disease can stem from making unhealthy choices such as smoking, eating a high-fat diet and not exercising enough.”
Again already, with the E-word. I threw caution to the wind and looked for a disorder that did NOT benefit from exercise:
• my husband’s elevated blood pressure: “Our study … shows that the vast majority of older people with mildly elevated blood pressure can benefit from moderate exercise,” Cardiology professor Edward Shapiro, M.D., sums up his findings in a Johns Hopkins news release.
• my friend’s high cholesterol: “Exercise, without accompanying weight loss, has a positive impact on improving cholesterol levels,” concluded the Duke University Medical Center in the New England Journal of Medicine.
• my relative’s Alzheimer’s disease: “The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is aerobic exercise,” says Donald Stuss, PhD, a neuropsychologist and director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto.
Even hypochondriacs do not escape. Hypochondria may reflect an underlying disorder such as depression, according to One of the key ways to address the drudgery of depression is to take a half-hour walk every day (
Doctors used to say, “take two aspirins and call me in the morning,” now they chant, “take two legs and go walking in the morning.” Easy for them to say, they don’t have to leave the comfort of the lounge chair to do it.






One response to “Prescription: Exercise”

  1. j_bo Avatar


    I’m reading this just after having returned from the gym. I say that not so you can think what a good example I am for having just exercised, but to say that exercise is totally frustrating.

    At least for me I almost never feel better afterwards; I sweat like a pig, my joints ache, my muscles are sore (and I’m only 36!) Such complications make it harder to convince myself to get out of the chair the next time it’s time to go.

    I’m not so sure I see the long term benefits either, especially since the short term payoff is not so hot. Guess I just have to trust those medical experts that it will do me good in the long run to keep it up.