Exercise instead of medicine

As Steve Jobs would tell you (uh, if he could), sometimes you need surgery and medicine, because eating and exercise won’t cure what you’ve got.

But in many, many cases some exercise and better eating will fix your health problems, give you way more energy, save lots of money and put less of a burden on those you love.

You don’t need to do extreme exercise, but here are a couple impressive success stories from people who used P90X.



I see a lot of testimonials posted at 24 Hour Fitness as well.  One was a grandma who was becoming a burden to her family.  After exercising she was able to do so much more on her own and to play with her grandchildren.  Another was a common one where a guy lost a lot of weight and was able to get off all sorts of medicine.

I think the key is to remember who you are competing against: Yourself.  It is the “you” who won’t do any physical activity today versus the “you” who does something — anything!  As the Bible notes, there will always be those better or worse than you, so try not to compare.  Just find something you like, no matter how minimal, and do it.

I like doing a hybrid of P90X weightlifting, some cardio (stair stepper or exercise bike) and core work.  And we go ballroom dancing several times per week.  We’ve met lots of people who lost weight and feel much better since they started dancing.  We think of dance as just a fun hobby and not exercise, but you get the benefits either way.

8 thoughts on “Exercise instead of medicine”

  1. I’m much more lazy than that. I play the pipes mostly daily (talk about aerobic exercise!!!), take walks with my wife virtually daily (usually about two miles), in good weather do bike rides, but mostly is just running around the house and yard which keeps my girlish figure!


  2. Can I rant for a minute? This topic is actually a refreshing change from the usual fare (to me, anyway) and one I rarely speak about in public.

    I joined a gym last year but went months without going at all. In January I started going weekly and have been able to keep that up (spending an hour on the elliptical each time then leaving). No results to speak of. I know, I know, it’s not enough.

    I have many pet peeves about it – I work a late shift, so it always seems to be like 2AM when I get down there and the janitor guy is banging around me with the vacuum while I’m trying to watch TV with headphones. According to the meter on the machine, I’m burning off about 1000 cal per session.

    But I hate getting all sweaty and tired, and then when I get home there’s an overpowering urge to cram a huge amount of carb-rich food down my gullet because I’m so completely famished after exercising. It’s like I’m putting all the calories right back on. And then I’m sore and creaky like an old man the next day.

    My g/f tells me I’m not going often enough (and overdoing it when I do) but she herself has serious weight problems and doesn’t seem like the person to be giving me advice.

    Like many Americans, I’ve no end of frustrations with regard to exercising. I hate organized team sports of all kinds – I have never enjoyed any of them and they all seem to be nothing but people running around randomly, yelling at me, and telling me I’m not good enough or not doing something or other I’m supposed to be doing…makes me feel like I’m back in high school again. (And that’s when I can find something going on during my off-hours – normal people are usually asleep or at work then). You’d think a guy who’s over six feet tall would be good at basketball.

    Exercise is unpleasant for me. Everyone says you have to find something you enjoy or you won’t stick with it…and so I’m stuck on that part. The only thing I get any enjoyment out of is hiking, but I can’t drop what I’m doing and run off to the mountains every day. I cannot even enjoy biking any more because my stomach has gotten so large that it’s become awkward to lean over my handlebars.

    I know I have to do something, as my father, grandfather and two uncles all had problems with heart disease related to obesity. I’m not even 40 yet and I already feel like an old man.


    1. Thanks for sharing the rant. It can all be very frustrating.

      I talked to a guy last weekend who hates exercise but plays lots of team sports to stay in shape, and I know of people who are the opposite. We used to play volleyball at the YMCA and it helped that they had leagues for beginner, intermediate and advanced, so that helped match up the skill sets and expectations a big.

      My philosophy is simple: Do something — anything! — that you can do consistently with little risk of injury, then eat a little healthier and eat a little less. No fad diets, ever. Never skip meals, or you get too hungry, start obsessing over food and crave the wrong stuff. Even walking a couple miles a few days a week while listening to music or Podcasts to pass the time can make a huge difference if people keep at it.

      That is intense if you can do the elliptical for an hour! I max out at 25 min. on the stair stepper. Too boring for me after that.


    2. I don’t know if I should be jumping in, what with my double-chocolate caramel brownie addiction and all, but….

      Yes, I think you’re overdoing it when you go. You’re better off going for about a half hour or 45 minutes a day, which is enough to kick up your metabolism but will not flatten you with exhaustion. Also consider going before work, if it’s feasible.

      The other thing I can suggest is to try to walk places. I know someone who dropped about twenty pounds by walking an hour every morning and an hour every evening. If you don’t have a destination, meander around your neighbourhood.

      Do they have kickball leagues near you? They are a big thing in D.C., and all the not-really-athletic people love them because you don’t have to be particularly good.


      1. Today is Tuesday. I did it again this evening…went down there for a full hour (for the first time in two weeks) and burned another 1000 calories. Just for good measure, I added some barbell bicep curls.

        I staggered out of there, feeling like I’d had an argument with a freight train. All I could think about was your statement about “flattening” myself with exercise. Still, I’m going try and make it down there before the end of the week for another butt-kicking. I think to myself that my big floppy stomach didn’t appear overnight, and it’s not going away overnight, either.

        On Saturday, I did about 20 minutes on my heavy-framed, too-small, knobby-tire mountain bike…up and down the hills of my neighborhood streets…towing my 30-lb daughter in a bicycle trailer. (The kid promptly fell asleep as soon as I left the driveway and wasn’t even able to appreciate the ride.)

        One of these days, I’ll learn.


    3. Another thought: could you and your girlfriend work out together, even if it’s going for a walk every day? (Think two or three miles, with a stroller.) If you’re in a negative loop wherein neither one of you thinks that the other is taking care of his or her health and body, it’s really tough. Turn it into a shared effort to improve.

      Also, try to find a personal trainer at a gym, who can give you pointers that are better than anything Neil or I could do. 🙂


      1. Out of the question. No time, and we can barely stand to be around each other that long.


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