If someone offered you a magical substance, claiming guaranteed results for lengthened quality of life, a 50-percent decrease in risk of heart disease, a dramatic improvement in oxygen delivery to body muscle cells, decreased mental anxiety and depression, and lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels would you, first of all, believe that such a potion really exists? And, if medical evidence supporting these claims could be provided, would you be willing to sacrifice time and effort to obtain this health-saving nostrum?
Such a potion does exist, and although time and effort are involved, it can be obtained very inexpensively. Exercise–aerobic exercise, in particular–such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, and aerobic dance is the “wonder drug.” And the spectacular benefits are available to all who use the “potion” three to five times per week.
However, the use of this “drug” has been associated with many potential side-effects, especially when too much is taken. Pain in muscles, joints, and tendons is a real possibility. Use during hot and humid weather can be risky. Large doses during pregnancy may harm the growing fetus. And, for those who have a high risk of heart disease, use of this substance can imperil life itself. (more…)