Understand how physical activity promotes health, prevents and treats diseases

By performing modalities that involve lean mass gain (bodybuilding, functional, crossfit, pilates, etc.) it is possible to control, for example, type 2 diabetes, since the muscles cause greater sensitization of cells to insulin. Aerobic activities (running, biking, swimming) also help with the condition by lowering the blood sugar level.

Those with high blood pressure benefit from the more efficient circulation of blood caused when we exercise regularly. Therefore, exercise can help those who have hypertension and/or diabetes to reduce the dose of medication or, for some, even dispense with drugs.

Even in the treatment of aggressive diseases such as cancer, exercise is generally beneficial (and should be indicated according to the specific condition of each patient). One of the reasons is the release of proteins with an anti-inflammatory function generated by muscle contraction during physical effort. They act on various organs of the body, helping to prevent and treat tumors.

For these patients, maintaining an active life can even help to combat the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which often cause fatigue, loss of muscle mass and, for some, anxiety and depressive symptoms. It is important to emphasize that, although maintaining an active life helps to fight and control diseases, the use of medications and other therapies should not be interrupted without a doctor’s order.

The problem, explains Fabrício Buzatto, sports doctor and physiatrist at the Hospital das Clínicas da Ufes (Federal University of Espírito Santo), is that not all health professionals have this knowledge.

In college, we doctors don’t have any training in this. We learn how to prescribe medication but not exercise or how to convince someone that physical activity is essential.