“If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation”. (1) In addition, it isn’t news that the solution to many chronic, non-communicable diseases and functional problems is exercise. (2-9)
The dilemma has been and continues to be, “How do we get our patients to take the exercise pill?” To improve overall public health and reduce long-term health care costs, in 2007, the AMA and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) teamed up to promote Exercise is Medicine (EIM). The program promotes assessing physical activity levels of each patient at every clinic visit, providing patients with an exercise prescription that can be tailored for their specific disease conditions and referring patients to a trusted network of local evidence-based physical activity programs led by qualified professionals. (10) In response to barriers to this plan that include ‘lack of time, lack of training in physical activity counseling,” EIM’s assessment, prescription and referral goal is designed to be completed “within the 30 second time window that a health care provider typically has available.” (11) Coleman et al. state that “with minimal effort on the part of clinic staff, the assessment of exercise can be integrated into the vital signs taken as part of routine patient care and serve to initiate patient counseling.” (3)
“If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”
Thirty seconds, are you kidding me? The only way this can be done within 30 seconds is to refer out patients, especially our middle aged and older patients, to highly trained exercise specialists – Its and OTs. Exercise may seem easy to administer, but if done properly, it isn’t a quick fix, but rather a timed, incremental, and long-term approach perfected through expertise and skilled patient motivation. In addition if the exercise program is incorrectly applied the patient may experience injury, lack of motivation, or lack of results.
A survey by the ACSM indicates that 60% of patients report that they would be “more likely to start a physical activity program if advised to do so by their health care provider.” (11) Thus, there is strong evidence that physicians should be prescribing exercise for our patients who either have or are at risk for chronic, non-communicable diseases and functional problems. (12) Exercise can be powerful intervention if prescribed, monitored and progressed by the appropriate health care team member: PTs and OTs.
If you are interested in our AFIT Program, please contact Advantage Rehab Inc today. This evaluation is paid for by Medicare.
- Lewis CB. 47th Mary McMillan Lecture: Our future selves: unprecedented opportunities. Phys. Ther. 2016; 1493-1501.
- Gerber m, Holsboer-Trachsler E., Puhse U, Brand S. Exercise is medicine for patients with major depressive disorders; but only if the “pill” is taken! Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016 Aug 5; 12:1977-81.
- Coleman KJ, Ngor E, Reynolds K, Quinn VP, Koebnick C, Young, DR, Sternfield, B, Sallis RE. Initial validation of an exercise “vital sign” in electronic medical records. Med Sci Sports Exercise. 2012 Nov; 44(11): 2071-6.
- Kruk J. Physical activity in the prevention of the most frequent chronic diseases: An analysis of the recent evidence. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2007 Jul-Sep;8(3):235-38.
- Brown WJ, Burton NW, Rowan PJ. Updating the evidence on physical activity and health in women. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Nov;33(5):404-411.
- Martinsen EW. Physical activity in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression. Nord J Psychiatry. 2008;62 Suppler 47:25-9.
- Aoyagi Y, Shephard RJ. Steps per day: The road to senior health? Sports Med. 2009;39(6):423-38.
- Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bedin SS. Health benefits of physical activity:the evidence. CMAJ. 2006 mar 14;174(6):801-9.
- Manini TM. Using Physical Activity to Gain the Most Public Health Bang for the Buck. JAMA internal medicine. 2015;175(6):968-969.
- What is the EIM Solution? For Exercise is Medicine Web site. http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/support_page.php.the-eim-solution5/ Accessed August 21, 2016.
- Blair SN, Sallis RE, Hutber A, Archer E. Exercise therapy – the public health message. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Aug;22(4):e24-8.
- Sales RE. Exercise is medicine and physicians need to prescribe it! Br J Sports Med. 2009 Jan;43(1):3-4