How to use exercise as medicine (Part 2)


Exercise can be a powerful tool for disease prevention, but it is also very effective if you already have a disease. It can have positive benefits on your mood, help improve mental health, and can be an important must-have part of your treatment. 

One of the most common diseases is Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), which is a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels including conditions such as coronary heart disease and rheumatic heart disease. According to the World Health Organization, CVDs are the leading cause of death globally taking almost 18 million lives each year. Disease occurs when the oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced. Exercises that can be beneficial here are those that help improve blood flow, while at the same time reducing blood sugar levels as well. Aerobic exercises like brisk walking, cycling and swimming can improve heart health and endurance as well as activities like yoga and tai chi which can also reduce stress, a very important factor for those who struggle with CVDs.

Most diseases are related to the lifestyle choices that we make. They are also known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). And if they are caused by lifestyle choices we make, then it would make sense that we can also reduce the symptoms or in many cases even reverse them completely by changing unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. CVD risk factors include smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and stress. Daily exercise, such as 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activities like swimming, brisk walking, yoga, and cycling, can be a huge help in reducing symptoms and a great start to changing lifestyle behaviors. When you start doing this you will probably find yourself automatically wanting to eat healthier to support what you are trying to change with your new exercise routing.

Another common condition is osteoporosis, which is characterized by weakened bones that develop when bone mineral density and bone mass decrease, or when the structure and strength of the bones change. This can be caused by a combination of factors, including poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

It’s a silent disease because typically you don’t have symptoms until you fracture a bone. It mostly occurs in postmenopausal women and older men. Specifically, balance, coordination, and resistance training can help prevent osteoporosis. However, if you have already been diagnosed, you can still do something to improve your health and prevent further damage and exercise here is very important. Regular exercise can help improve bone density, muscle strength, balance, and overall physical function, reducing the risk of fractures and enhancing the overall quality of life for those with osteoporosis.

Two to three times a week, try resistance training such as weight machines, resistance bands, and/or bodyweight exercises. Also consider balance and coordination exercises, for example step-ups, lunges, tai chi, or simply walking backwards. Yoga and Pilates can also help improve balance, flexibility, and core strength. If you’re at a high risk, you also need to avoid exercises that involve twisting, bending, and jumping with high impact. But always remember, if you want to see results then you need to be consistent and create a daily routine. I wish there was an easy way to get results, but life’s rules apply — whatever you give, you get back.


NHS. Cardiovascular disease.

World Health Organization. Cardiovascular diseases.

World Health Organization. Noncommunicable diseases.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Exercise for Your Bone Health.

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 



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