From an Unlikely Source

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24 Dec 2014

unlikely_featOver the past week, I received two interesting emails. One from a longtime client of mine and the other from someone with whom I worked with to lose substantial weight. Both of these emails were “eye openers” and they didn’t come from the usual places one would find information about health and fitness news. Let’s start with the email I received from my client, A.

When I opened up his mail, I saw a link to the Harvard Business Review-not the Harvard school of Public Medicine. Now, A. himself is a very astute businessman so I thought he was sharing a good business idea with me. Then I read the headline, “Make Exercise Part of Your Work Routine.” I went on to read and was fascinated, although not surprised, to read the email and the attached article. What it said was as follows.

“Regular exercise can produce countless benefits—from improved concentration and sharper memory to enhanced creativity and lower stress—all of which boost workplace performance. Yet many of us believe we don’t have the time. So instead of viewing exercise as something you do for yourself, consider physical activity as part of the work itself. Here are a few ways to incorporate more exercise into your routine:”

Yes, I have told you that exercise is good for everything, but here in a business oriented publication, we are hearing that exercise should be considered as part of your workday. You need to do this to be productive. And yes, it will help your learning as well for the same reasons. And here’s more: On days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed. They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues. Just as important: They went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.

Instead of viewing exercise as something we do for ourselves—a personal indulgence that takes us away from our work—start considering physical activity as part of the work day itself. The alternative, which involves processing information more slowly, forgetting more often, and getting easily frustrated, makes us less effective at our jobs and harder to get along with for our colleagues.

The second email, sent to me by S, came from an article in the Wall Street Journal- a paper known for business, finance and news, not necessarily about fitness and diet. This article was titled, “Doctors Dole out Prescriptions for Exercise.”

Those of us who deal day in and day out with diet and exercise, know that exercise really is medicine and can be as effective and, in certain circumstances, more effective than medications. I personally have seen diabetes go away, cholesterol and triglycerides return to normal levels and blood pressure readings drop dramatically in people who exercised and changed their diet, without taking meds.

Now it seems that some doctors are beginning to realize this as well. According to this report, patients are coming out of the doctor’s office with prescriptions for physical activity in addition to drugs, doctor referrals and follow-up protocols. Doctors are working exercise counseling into office visits and calling exercise a “vital sign” to be measured when they take readings like pulse and blood pressure. Rather than just explain the dangers of inactivity, they suggest the right amount of exercise and, in some cases, refer patients to certified trainers or physical therapists who can design regimens for different medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes that might limit certain activities.

A few weeks ago, a popular magazine featured a Beit Shemesh family doctor who has added a lifestyle program into his practice. He has also found that the results from diet and exercise and overhauling lifestyle habits brings better results than medications sometimes do. This is all very encouraging, and will hopefully become a trend in the medical field.

Two interesting emails this week, both of which have me very encouraged about getting more people to exercise and reap the benefits of doing so. Exercise will help you be a more productive person in your daily tasks, whether at work or in the beit midrash and will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”


Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a BEHAVIORAL CHANGE and WELLNESS COACH with over 19 years of professional experience. Alan is the creator and director of the “10 Weeks to Health” program for weight loss. He is available for private coaching sessions, consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs both in his office and by telephone and skype. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at Check out the his web site – US Line: 516-568-5027.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.