THE BLOG
12/09/2013 04:31 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2014

If You Buy One Health Book for Your New Year's Resolutions Choose This One

Dr. Jordan Metzl's new book, The Exercise Cure is hitting Amazon and bookstores this week. At a moment when the healthcare debate is raging across the US, this is a needed dose of reality -- the best way for us to bring down the cost of healthcare is to prevent disease in the first place.

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The book covers a wide range of health problems and prescribes specific exercises to address each one. The book deals with conditions ranging from heart disease, sexual issues and PMS to brain and psychological conditions. Dr. Metzl,MD is a leading sports doc and has raced 11 Ironman triathlons and 30 marathons.

Dr. Metzl kicks off the book with an alarming stat that we are now all aware of - healthcare costs the US $2.6 trillion each year. We can debate the merits of different health plans, but one fact is clear - Americans need to exercise a lot more if we are to bring down healthcare costs and prevent disease instead of just treating it.

What is different about this book is that The Exercise Cure offers customized workout plans for different health conditions and concerns. Too many such books treat all people the same without taking into account individual differences.

Another helpful set of sections in the book cover nutrition and how to set up a home gym for less than $400. Fancy equipment is not needed for any of the exercises in the book.

Jack's Exclusive Interview with Dr. Jordan Metzl on The Exercise Cure

1. In The Exercise Cure, you discuss the $2.6 trillion price tag of healthcare in the US. At a time when the healthcare debate is raging across the country, how do we convince doctors and medical establishments to incorporate exercise as a primary tool in fighting disease and bringing down healthcare costs?

The key to convincing health care administrators, doctors, and hospital systems to encourage exercise to simply make patients healthier and to save money in the entire health care system.

If there were a drug that treated and prevented the chronic diseases that afflict Americans and we didn't give it to everyone, we'd be withholding a "magic pill" that would benefit many. If this drug was free, in a country that spends more $300 billion annually on prescription drugs, where the average 80 year old takes eight medications, we'd be foolish not to encourage this cheaper and safer alternative as first-line treatment. And finally, if every doctor in every country around the world didn't prescribe this drug for every patient, it might be considered medical malpractice.


2. Jordan, there are lots of exercise books on the market - tell us what was the driving force for you to write this book and how it differs from other exercise and health books?

To start, this book is written by someone who is both a doctor and an athlete. In Exercise Cure, as I did in Athlete's Book of Home Remedies, I try to use my vantage point as both an athlete and a doctor. These combined viewpoints allow me to help give advice of exercise and movement from both perspectives. Not only do I recommend exercise, I actually teach exercise classes. Not only do I recommend walking or jogging, I have run 31 marathons myself. I think this gives the book less of a "preachy" tone and more of a user friendly guidebook that I hope inspires people to get off the couch. If they are already off the couch, there are workouts in the second half of the book that will teach athletes of every level, from beginner to advanced level athlete, how to structure and develop home based exercise programs.


3. Tell us more about Kinetic Chain Strengthening. What is it and how does it differ from what is done in most gyms and workouts?

I'm a huge believer in kinetic chain strength, both as an athlete and a doctor. The kinetic chain, the interrelated chain of muscles from tip to toe, is what helps us all move. It also helps us do every sport, from walking to football. The key to a happy kinetic chain is that it needs to be flexible and it needs to be strong. What I recommend in The Exercise Cure is a daily foam roller workout to make the kinetic chain more flexible, and twice per week strengthening to make the kinetic chain stronger.

The key to kinetic chain workouts is that they are functional. This means you aren't just doing a leg extension, for example, but you are doing a balanced squat on one leg. Both types of maneuver strengthen the quadriceps muscles, but the kinetic chain type of balancing squat strengthens the hip and lower leg muscles while also strengthening the quads. The movement pattern is simply much more functional.

4. A healthy diet complements good exercise. Society today is obsessed with avoiding carbs - what are your thoughts on this trend and what do you recommend?

I'm a carb lover and I don't think that carbs are the devil. If you are looking to cut weight, for sure reducing carb intake can help. But the basic system is easy, the more you rev up your metabolic engine with exercise, the more calories your machine (body) will burn.

5. Jordan, most people have crazy busy lives - if someone can only do 15-20 minutes a day of exercise, what do you suggest they do?

Give me twenty minutes and I can make you work! I'm a huge fan of short duration, intense interval workouts. If you only have 20 minutes, start with 3 minutes of jumping jacks to warm up. Then I'd like three sets of five minute intervals. Set one, plyomteric jump squats, 6 sets of 15 jumps. Set two, 15 mountain climbers and then 15 legs down, repeated. And then set three, sets of eight burpees. In the last 2 minutes do planks, one minute forward and 30 seconds to each side. That is twenty minutes that will get you through the day, I promise.

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Bottom line - this book will help your bottom and your bottom line. It is packed with good advice and can help you address health issues in a natural way. I got to know Dr. Metzl when he treated me for a sports injury. He knows his stuff. Check out The Exercise Cure. As you start making your new year's resolutions including all the healthy things you will do this year, I recommend picking up a copy of this book to guide your journey.