Movement as Medicine | Barefoot Blog

Movement as Medicine

October 03, 2013 by Jamie Page

Forget Obamacare and the NHS – What about a simple solution for the revolution in healthcare?

Now we're not seriously suggesting that we abolish healthcare, we're simply asking the question: Can movement be medicine? Can exercise be used to treat illness and disease? A recent study in the BMJ has highlighted that exercise can be as good as prescribed drugs for people with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The metaepidemiological study of 16 meta-analyses looked at the evidence from 305 randomised controlled trials with 339,273 participants and compared the effectiveness of exercise against the effectiveness of drug treatment on an assortment of illnesses.
They found that “the evidence suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes.”

Exercise has similar effects as drugs

In most conditions that the team of researchers looked at they found that exercise had similar effectiveness to drug interventions with the exception of stroke rehab where exercise was better and in heart failure where diuretics outperformed all comparators, including exercise.
The scientists, from London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine, noted that there was a smaller evidence base for exercise and fewer comparisons between drugs and exercise, which limited the study. It was noted that this lack of evidence reflected the modern medical and pharmaceutical bias towards evaluating prescriptive drugs only.

So, shouldn’t we use movement as medicine?

The researchers state that exercise should be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy. The authors reflected that the current approach to medicine is in increasing favour of drug interventions over strategies to modify lifestyle.
Whilst we’re not advocating that we should disregard modern medicine and we know there is a place for prescribed drugs we simply believe the simple principles of a healthy diet and regular exercise (not too much though) can yield long, happy and sustaining life.

The human body has evolved to:

Drink: Clean water (No chemicals)
Eat: Natural Foods (Local, Seasonal, Unprocessed)
Exercise: Natural ratio of Total Energy Expenditure to Resting Metabolic Rate = 2:1
Modern humans = 1.4:1, adding a 10 mile walk daily would cover this mismatch!
Sleep: 8hrs a night

Use the body, move the body

We’re all about preventative measures, encouraging a long life of healthy, natural movement by (re)learning the skill and letting your feet do their thing. That’s why we make our shoes to let your feet behave as if it was barefoot and encourage everyone to be active, stand, walk, squat and run skilfully and to, of course, embrace nature. We believe the perfect shoe should harmonize with your foots ‘natural’ technology and release its full potential in any environment.

photo by Jenz Ericson

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