N4L 127: "Exercise Is Medicine" by Judy Foreman


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By Janet Perry, Janet Perry: blogger, and Nonfiction book lover. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Investigative health journalist Judy Foreman brings decades of experience and hundreds of scientific studies to her latest book, Exercise Is Medicine: How Physical Activity Boosts Health and Slows Aging. Even though we know of more centenarians now than ever before, we’re also growing fatter and older faster than ever. Through extensive research into evolutionary biology, exercise physiology, and the new field of geroscience, Foreman uncovers why exercise is so powerful. So, if you’re looking for that push to get out and exercise, this is the book for you!


  • “Sitting Kills” – sitting makes visceral fat that acts as an endocrine organ, pumping out chemicals that stimulate chronic inflammation
  • Epigenetic clock – determines whether a gene has been activated or not
  • Heart disease – leading cause of death in the U.S., preventable with exercise
  • Healthspan – the number of years we’re healthy
  • Disability, disease, and dysfunction – create a long, slow (miserable) slope to aging
  • “Squaring the curve” – making a long, straight line to aging (minus the misery)
  • 10K steps/day – arbitrary measurement
  • We have more leisure hours than we think when we can choose what to do
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – helps compress exercise time
  • Sarcopenia – not enough muscle mass
  • Brain health – most improved by physical exercise (vs. brain games)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Supreme Court Justice who uses rigorous exercise to help fight cancer and stay fit
  • Falls – the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths
  • BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) – AKA “Miracle-Gro for the brain”; released when we exercise and pumped to the hippocampus
  • Resistance training & endurance training – best done in tandem


  • “Exercise is the closest thing we have to a magic bullet. No pill is ever going to match it.”
  • “The ability to exercise and the need to do it are built into our genes.”
  • “Our sedentary Westernized lifestyle of too much food and too little exercise is killing us and making us die sooner than we need to.”
  • “There’s no nice way to put this. The United States is a fat, fat, fat country with 70.7 percent of Americans now officially obese or overweight.”
  • “[Doctors] consider someone with diabetes the equivalent of someone who’s already had a heart attack.”
  • “The dangers of exercise are vanishingly small."
  • “We lose a quarter of our fitness within 3-4 weeks of not training, so…start—and don’t stop!”

BUY Exercise is Medicine: How Physical Activity Boosts Health and Slows Aging


Watch this video of Jack Lalanne, who dubbed himself “The Godfather of Exercise.”

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