Exercise vs. drugs

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 5:54pm

Jacqueline Collins started working out and eating healthy three months ago, and she says it's given her more than just weight loss. 'It's exhilarating," she says.  Her new lifestyle is replacing her medications. "I take blood pressure medicine, and I have a couple of other pills like cholesterol medicine, and I'm trying to get off of all of it. I'm trying to get off of any medication I'm on," she says.

In fact, studies show exercise or eating a healthy meal can give a person with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses the same effect as a drug.

Personal trainer Mike Caballero says exercise increases serotonin levels in your brain and keeps it elevated for a couple of hours.  He says serotonin is the hormone that controls mood happiness.

Since exercise can do the same as many pills without the side effects, trainers with Trinity Mother Fitness Center in Lindale say doctors often send their patients to their gym before they prescribe them medicine. 

However, experts say it takes time and effort to reap the benefits since you cant go out and buy a bottle of this "miracle drug." 

Collins says the extra effort is worth it. "I have a checkup in two months, and I'm anxious to see my doctor. We can just jump up and down together about what I've done," she says.

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