May 2011, Exercise is Medicine Month, Lauds the Benefits of Physical Activity

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Public encouraged to get active, health care professionals asked to prescribe exercise

Everyone should start or renew an exercise program now as an investment in life-long health," said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM. "There are far more reasons to exercise than excuses not to."

The fourth annual Exercise is Medicine® Month kicks off on Sunday, celebrating the health benefits of exercise and offering resources to get people moving.

“Everyone should start or renew an exercise program now as an investment in life-long health,” said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, chair of Exercise is Medicine. “Every person, regardless of age or health, is responsible for his or her own physical activity. There are far more reasons to exercise than excuses not to.”

Exercise Lowers Health Care Costs

Research shows that exercise helps treat and prevent more than 40 chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

“While there are numerous reasons for soaring health care costs, one undeniable explanation is the poor physical health of so many Americans,” said Sallis. “Exercise is something every person can do to control the rising costs of health care and improve quality of life.”

Health Care Provider Involvement is Key

Most health care providers don’t realize the effect they have in motivating patients. Nearly 65 percent of patients say they would be more interested in exercising if advised by their doctor and given additional resources.

“Health care providers, including physicians, should assess physical activity at every appointment, write exercise prescriptions and be prepared to refer patients to fitness professionals,” said Sallis. “Every doctor should be an exercise advocate.”

A Two-Way Street

Starting a physical activity program can be as simple as taking a brisk walk each day and gradually building up frequency and duration. Patients are encouraged to talk to their health care provider for an exercise prescription if additional advice and guidance are needed.

Easy-to-Use Tools Available

Most people already know exercise is important. Many are overwhelmed by where and how to start, particularly those new to exercise, those who have an existing health condition and the elderly. Simple, easy-to-use exercise tips, tools and videos are available online to help them get started and stay motivated.

Partners Spread the Exercise Message

Exercise is Medicine partners include the American College of Nurse Practitioners, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and organizations and universities from all parts of the world.

Governors and mayors nationwide have already signed on to proclaim May 2011 as Exercise is Medicine Month in their communities.

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 40,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

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Ashley Crockett-Lohr

Dan Henkel
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