Exercise Is Medicine aims to get your doctor to assess your physical activity

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Has your doctor asked you about your physical activity level? If so, you can thank Exercise is Medicine, a global health initiative run by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Created in 2007, the initiative encourages health care providers to assess patients’ physical activity during visits and to include regular exercise when designing care plans. The amount and types of exercise recommended by health professionals should be based on each person’s current health status and abilities.

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Healthcare providers can impact patient health by regularly assessing physical activity during every interaction.

The philosophy behind this initiative is simple: physical activity promotes optimal health. Regular movement also helps prevent and even treat various medical conditions. Overwhelming evidence links physical inactivity to poor health and high health care costs, according to a 2020 article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The study concluded that health care and fitness programs should be merged.

Additionally, people who were moderately to vigorously active for at least 150 minutes per week had nearly half as much health care use as those who were sedentary, according to a study by Salt-based Intermountain Health. Lake City, which was featured. at the 2019 American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting and accepted for publication.

The study also found that active people incurred half the total health care costs compared to sedentary people, defined as those who engaged in one minute per week of moderate to vigorous activity, said Dr. Elizabeth Joy, MD. -head of a health technology company. Lore Health and Chairman of the EIM Governance Board.

Unfortunately, although MIE has grown and achieved many successes, only 22.9% of adult women and 17.8% of adult men have been advised by health professionals to increase their level of physical activity, according to the 2022 U.S. National Health Survey, Joy noted.

With the average primary care visit lasting less than 20 minutes and with healthcare providers having to cover many issues, it is not surprising that so few are interested in physical activity , said Joy.

“Writing a prescription takes very little time,” Joy said. “It takes much longer to provide evidence-based behavior change advice. »

Despite EIM’s lack of progress in the medical office, EIM has created many programs, initiatives, and exercise prescriptions to help outsiders.

For example, EIM now includes Exercise is Medicine on Campus, a program that helps colleges and universities promote and evaluate physical activity among students, faculty and staff. To date, more than 200 U.S. schools and more than two dozen international educational institutions participate.

The EIM-OC program at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has reached gold status, said Amy Campbell, associate director of recreation and wellness, meaning the university regularly evaluates and promotes l physical activity on campus. The university offers perks like free personal training through its exercise science majors, as well as a host of group fitness classes and wellness coaching.

Although some of these offerings were in place before GVSU signed with EIM-OC, Campbell said the university is working more collaboratively to emphasize the importance of physical activity.

“The CARE team (which connects distressed students to support services) now always asks students, “What do you do outside of class?” Do you stay physically active? What activities do you enjoy?’ “Campbell said. “If they see an opportunity to work with our department, they will contact us. For example, if a person cannot afford to participate in an intramural program, we will ensure that they have access to it.

There is also Moving Through Cancer, the first disease-specific initiative within EIM. The initiative supports exercise and rehabilitation programs for people living with cancer and beyond. Most people who are physically active during cancer treatment have less serious side effects, feel better more quickly after treatment and, in some cases, have a lower risk of their cancer returning, research shows.

EIM also created the Rx for Health Series, which provides exercise prescriptions for people with a wide variety of common chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression and anxiety, osteoarthritis and l ‘heart failure.

“If you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at a much higher risk of having another if you spend most of your time on the couch rather than going for walks,” Joy said. “The couch is more dangerous than your walking shoes.”

While EIM will continue to educate health care providers and students in health care fields about the importance of assessing patient activity levels and creating physical activity prescriptions, the EIM is also exploring other options.

“People don’t respond well to being told to do something,” Joy said. “Rather, people are more likely to engage in and sustain healthy behavior changes when they are made within their community.” If a person’s family, neighborhood, religious community, or even work environment supports regular physical activity, they are likely to be more active.

Absolutely, said Gerren Liles, certified personal trainer and owner of Gerren Liles Vision Fitness in New York. Various New York City companies have tapped Liles to teach fitness classes to their employees, and he has seen the benefits.

“It’s always good to get people together to work out,” he said. “It can encourage people to take charge of their physical condition. It would be great if businesses invested in fitness, if schools created programs and events for students and even parents, and if media and films promoted physical activity.

“Healthy behaviors are contagious,” Joy said. “We also have some personal responsibility when it comes to physical activity: we need to really think about how we influence the people around us. »

So next time you go for a walk, Joy said, invite a friend or neighbor.

Melanie Radzicki McManus is a freelance writer specializing in hiking, travel and fitness.

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