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Exercise can
reduce the
need for pain
medication and

Hormonal imbalance Exercise is said to help treat post-partum depression and improve stress and anxiety management
Did anything surprise you? attention, memory and moods. It’s therefore of benefi t across
The chapter on women was originally twice as long as it is the board – for older people and for children with conditions
now in the book – I just couldn’t believe what a positive effect such as dyslexia or ADD. The Dore programme, for example,
exercise had on women. I knew about its effect on maintaining involves a series of exercises that are basically balance and
cognitive function in women’s brains after menopause, but the cerebellar exercises to help train the cerebellum and improve
big surprise was its effect on women in pregnancy. In Germany reading and attention. Their research was pretty good at fi rst
they even have exercise bikes in their labour and delivery but has not been repeated much – it was a big controversy in
suites, as their studies have shown that exercise can reduce the fi eld. Nevertheless, I think balance is important – a lot of
the need for pain medication. people who have ADD and learning problems do also have
And then there’s the whole idea of exercise as stress co-ordination problems.
inoculation. I’d written a book on the brain in 2000, called A
User’s Guide to the Brain, and thought I knew it pretty well, but as How can health clubs tap into all this?
I started again in 2006 I was just blown away by how much more Instructors should not only build people up towards the
information we had on what was happening inside our heads. A ideal intense bursts of activity, but should also continually
lot of that has to do with good stress, where you challenge your challenge people with different kinds of exercise challenges.
brain and then have a recovery period during which growth Running on the treadmill will get your heart rate up, but if you
occurs. When you learn French, for example, you only stress add in a cognitive challenge at the same time – moving in a
one part of the brain – but when you exercise, you stress and certain way or having to run around obstacles, for example – you
consequently grow your whole brain because of everything your will experience even more benefits. The more thinking you have
body’s doing. All that was brand new information for me. to do while you’re moving, the better the effect on the brain.
What the book does is add a whole new area of rationale
What sort of exercise brings about these as to why people should exercise. It’s not just about the body
brain-enhancing benefits? beautiful or losing weight, but about improving mental health
The big thing is getting your heart rate up, so aerobic training is and cognitive ability. There are clubs in the US and Canada
best – the really, really good stuff is sprinting – but there’s a giving a copy of the book to each new member when they join,
very positive effect from anaerobic or weight training too. And to give them an added incentive to keep attending the gym.
it’s not just about intensity. The amount of time is important The momentum behind the use of exercise for mental, as
too – going as fast as you possibly can for 30 seconds. With well as physical, health is gathering pace. But my objective is to
deconditioned and overweight people, though, you won’t be fundamentally change our culture, so we re-learn the benefi ts
able to start there. You’ll need to build them up, focusing on of exercise and work it in as part of our everyday lives.
conditioning and building muscle to reduce fat.
Balance training is also important. We’re learning more and kate cracknell
more, for example, that balance has an effect especially on
july 2009 © cybertrek 2009 Read Health Club Management online 45
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