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The Exercise Rx

Kansas Functional Medicine

As a IFM Certified Functional Medicine Doctor in Kansas one of my favorite therapies is the Exercise Prescription.  But before we dive into how I implement a framework for prescribing exercise, lets dive into the cellular and health benefits of exercise.

Happy Couple Jogging Outdoor

Health Benefits of Exercise

  1. Improved mitochondrial function

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, responsible for producing energy in the form of ATP. Exercise has been shown to stimulate the growth and function of mitochondria, resulting in increased ATP production and improved energy metabolism.

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells. Exercise has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better respond to insulin and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  1. Reduced inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to numerous health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

  1. Increased antioxidant production

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of antioxidants in the body, helping to protect cells from oxidative stress.

  1. Improved DNA repair

DNA damage can accumulate over time and contribute to the aging process and the development of cancer. Exercise has been shown to improve DNA repair mechanisms, helping to reduce the risk of age-related diseases and cancer.

  1. Increased telomerase activity

Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes, which shorten as we age and contribute to the aging process. Exercise has been shown to increase telomerase activity, helping to preserve telomere length and potentially slowing the aging process.

  1. Improved cardiovascular health

Exercise is well-known for its cardiovascular benefits, including improved heart function, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

  1. Increased muscle strength and endurance

Exercise helps to build muscle strength and endurance, improving physical performance and reducing the risk of injury.

  1. Improved bone density

Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

  1. Improved cognitive function

Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. This may be due to increased blood flow to the brain, improved neuroplasticity, and the release of growth factors that promote brain health.

longevity word

Exercise & Longevity 

In 2018, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and longevity. The study analyzed data from 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing between 1991 and 2014.

The researchers found that cardiorespiratory fitness was inversely associated with all-cause mortality. In other words, the higher a person’s cardiorespiratory fitness level, the lower their risk of dying from any cause.

This study reinforced the efficacy of exercise as the most effective therapy to both improve healthspan and lifespan.

Jar of pills isolate. White plastic jar for medical pills, drugs and vitamins on a blank blue background.

The Exercise Prescription: 

At EvoHealth Kansas Functional Medicine some of the best outcomes I have achieved with patients isn’t through dietary modifications or supplementation. It’s through a highly personalized and targeted exercise prescription. It may seem crazy to think about exercise as a prescription, but we know from the clinical literature that exercise confers similar pharmacodynamics effects as powerful medications. So in my view, it would be crazy not to prescribe it. Here’s how I prescribe exercise:

1.) Mode: Aerobic/Anaerobic/Strength/Stability

2.) Frequency: How many days of the week I want the individual exercising

3.) Dosage: this ranges widely based off of previous experience with exercise as wee as current exercise regimen. This therapeutic dosage ranges from 100min/week to 300min/week

4.) Threshold: Zone 2 vs. Zone 5


Kansas City, Lawrence, Wichita, Overland Park Functional Medicine

At EvoHealth – Kansas Functional Medicine, we want to help you do more than just live; we want you to live your best life! Certified Functional Medicine Doctor Tanner Wilson offers evidence-based care for people who want to take a more proactive role in optimizing their health. Using a telehealth approach, we provide in-depth, effective care to patients throughout the entire state of Kansas including Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Wichita, Topeka and Lawrence—and you don’t even have to leave your home! Our goal is to make functional medicine accessible to all, regardless of where you live or your financial situation.


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