Muscles play a key role in a person’s overall health. How much we exercise our bodies influences our conditions both physically, mentally, and emotionally. For many, it determines their day, energy, and overall mood, and for Gaye Christmus, she knows this too well.

As the grant writer and editor for the exercise science department of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, she has seen much research concerning the connection between exercise and overall health improvement. Her job requires her to overlook and edit faculty and student’s proposals for grants. The grants are used to complete student and faculty academic research and help them in any way in order to receive proper funding. In her words, she helps them “jump through the hoops” in order for them to focus on the science.

Much of this research is done on the subject of using exercise as a treatment for illnesses. “Physical exercise is one of the few treatments I’ve seen for Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis,” says Christmus.

USC public health professors have even done research with the American Cancer Society where they have found that exercise helped keep the body from wasting away, especially through the grievous chemotherapy treatments.

Not only does physical activity help fight against sicknesses and diseases and help improve health, but in turn, can also help cut down on doctor bills. Exercise can also improve energy levels and mood which makes people more productive. “People think they’re too tired to exercise, but if they just got up and moved, they would feel so much better.” says Christmus. She quotes “Sedentary is the new smoking.”

The Arnold School of Public Health says this is true and encourages exercise for all faculty and staff. The school even built a gym in the building and provides standing desks in order to make it more convenient to stand and move for those working in public health.

Though finding the space and time to exercise for others can be inconvenient, it’s so crucial and important. “People have to decide and find a place for it and figure out a way to make it easier for you, whether that’s at home or throughout the day,” says Christmus. Some advise she gave me was to set reasonable goals and try to implement it into your lifestyle the best you can.

“You have to decide that this is a priority and see what is in the way that is keeping you from exercising,” she says. Christmus reminds others today and every day that exercise is one of the keys to a more healthier productive life, and is crucial to adopt into everyone’s schedule, no matter how hectic. So no more excuses – just exercise.