Exercise can replace tranquilizers, and should, says Dr. Herbert de Vries, a researcher at the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California. He notes that tranquilizers, unlike exercise, frequently produce unpleasant side effects and slow reaction time. He has found that as little as fifteen minutes of exercise can alleviate short term stress and even reduce long term nervous tension.
Dr. de Vries monitored electrical activity in the muscles of a selected group of patients before and after exercising. The 20 percent drop registered after exercise remained in effect for more than one hour. Patients who continued regular exercise on a long term basis demonstrated a 25 percent drop in nervous activity.
Richard Velde, deputy administrator of the Law Enforcement Administration in Washington, D.C., feels he has developed “a whole new personality” since he started jogging regularly. He was so impressed by the psychological benefits he experienced that he instituted exercise therapy for convicted felons, in the hope of improving their emotional adjustment before they are freed from jail.
If you have been exercising regularly and eating properly and you still are having trouble reaching a high degree of physical fitness, the missing element may be octacosanol, a substance found in wheat germ oil. After twenty years of research under controlled conditions with almost a thousand people middle aged university faculty members, fraternity men, schoolboys, swimmers, wrestlers, track men there is abundant evidence that octacosanol has beneficial effects on exercisers. It improves their stamina and endurance, reduces heart stress, and quickens reaction time.
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