|"How To Live Longer" by Allen Weiss, MD, CEO & President|
by Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, FACP, FACR
President & CEO, NCH Healthcare System
January 8, 2007 - “Promoting physical activity is one of the most important and effective ways to stay well” is a quote from a well-respected text on Geriatrics. Those who exercise know it is therapeutic mentally and physically. Exercise has been shown to affect gene transcription, which is the process of regulating body functions, help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and 12 kinds of cancer — plus avoid gallstones and diverticulitis. Exercise will improve your strength and balance, as well as your blood lipid profile. Your bones will become stronger. You’ll grow new capillaries in your heart, skeletal muscles, and brain, improving blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Your attention span will increase. If you have arthritis, your symptoms will improve. Exercise will help you regulate your appetite and you’ll probable find you prefer healthier foods. You’ll feel better, even younger, and you will test younger according to a variety of physiological standards. Your blood volume will increase, and you’ll burn fats faster. Even your immune system will be stimulated. These beliefs are gleaned from several sources including a publication of Harvard University, School of Medicine.
Why don’t we exercise? Seventy-five percent of the U.S. population fails to meet even the minimum government recommendation for daily exercise: thirty minutes of walking in bouts as short as eight to ten minutes. An interesting initial study took place in the late 1940s when a London researcher, Jeremy Morris, compared the health of double-decker bus drivers to conductors. The conductors ran up and down stairs all day collecting tickets while the drivers sat relatively immobile at the wheel. The conductors had significantly lower rates of heart disease
The NCH Healthcare System believes that prevention is better than treatment. This theory is evidenced by the new Briggs Wellness Center, which opened last month in a signature building on the corner of the Tamiami Trail and 4th Avenue North. Driving by, one can enjoy the sight of exercisers on treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. There are three large group exercise rooms, a 25-meter lap and exercise pool, as well as state of the art machines with individual flat screen TVs. Together with our other Wellness Center in the Greentree Shopping Center at Airport and Immokalee, we count some 7,000 members and offer over 150 health-related classes per week.
Please exercise for yourself and society. We can take responsibility for our health easily and feel better participating. The hardest part of exercise is getting started. So give yourself a push….and enjoy being fit.
Dr. Allen Weiss is CEO & President of the NCH Healthcare System. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Geriatrics, and was in private practice in Naples, Florida from 1977 - 2000. Dr. Weiss is active in a variety of professional organizations and boards, and has been published in numerous medical journals, including the American Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.