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The Benefits of Exercise

Why should you exercise?

What does exercise do to your body?

These are important questions that can be answered based on scientific data; the same science used to train our Olympic and professional athletes. This information also applies to you!

This blog article will explain how exercise will improve your memory, increase your energy, decrease your body fat, and help you look younger, perform better, and live longer. I call exercise the “missing ingredient” in most people’s lives.


It is important to define exercise since not all exercise is the same. Our popular media is full of inaccurate information because not all exercise is beneficial. In general, there are two broad categories of exercise: Endurance Training [ET] and Resistance Training [RT]. Endurance exercises are designed to improve the function of the cells of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Resistance training is designed to build muscle cells and to improve the function of your muscle cells. RT can also be called Strength Training. ET examples include running, swimming, jogging, biking, and walking. RT examples include weight lifting or anything that stresses the muscles. Some exercises do both ET and RT- running is ET and RT for the leg muscles. 

How do you measure ET?  Some people cannot run, some cannot swim, what can tie together these different exercises, so we know if we are doing something beneficial? The simplest way to measure ET is our heart rate and the time duration we perform ET. According to the Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise…/art-20046887- 

you need 150 minutes of moderate ET per week or 75 minutes of vigorous ET per week. Moderate ET is defined by a heart rate of 50%-70% of your maximum heart rate [220minus your age].  Vigorous ET is 70%-85%. Moderate ET in a 50 y/o has a heart rate of 220-50=170 x 50% to 70% = 85 to 119 beats per minute. Another method is the talk test- if you can talk but cannot sing you are doing moderate ET; if you cannot talk you are doing Vigorous ET – 


In addition, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] we need RT-resistance or strength training twice weekly. I recommend stressing each major muscle group once per week. The major muscle groups include the muscles for pushing [chest, shoulders, triceps]; leg muscles; and pulling muscles [back and biceps]. RT is easily measured by the weight lifted or the number of repetitions performed-20 push-ups-20 pull ups. We will elaborate on RT in our next blog on “what to do in the gym”. Now we know in general terms what exercise involves and how to measure it


Exercise will make you live longer.

Even a small amount of daily exercise—15 minutes per day—will make you live longer. Exercise adds energy packets called mitochondria to your cells. Mitochondria are like batteries that give your cells power [Journal of Physiolgy and Pharmacology. 59 Suppl-7 (2008) :5-18. (pg.68)]. 

Exercise prevents the common chronic metabolic diseases that disable most people-hypertension, maturity onset diabetes, abnormal blood lipids leading to a fatty liver, and coronary artery disease [International Journal of Epidemiology. 32.4 (2003 Aug.) :600-606.] [Sports Medicine. 34.6 (2004 May) :371-418. (pg.67)].

Aerobic Exercise [ET] will increase your memory by Increasing the memory part of the brain called the hippocampus. Exercise will improve your sleep quality and decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. People who perform ET regularly have larger areas of the brain for thinking and speaking-prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex.   https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110 

Resistance Exercise builds muscle cells and makes you stronger. Muscle cells burn more calories than other types of cells. Both RT and ET burn calories. Together these exercises help you lose body fat by increasing the number of calories your body requires on a daily basis [The Journal of Biological Chemistry286, 10605-10617.].

The single most important variable in longevity studies is a measure of daily calories.

Resistance exercise [RT]will build stronger bones-[ Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jan;31(1):25-30].