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EXERCISE PRESCRIPTION
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Background

Inactivity is a growing concern nationwide which can contribute to and complicate chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. More than half of adults (56%) do not meet the recommendations for sufficient physical activity of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Additionally 12% of deaths in the United States each year are associated with a sedentary lifestyle. This has caused the U.S Surgeon General to make increasing physical activity a top priority. One way sports medicine physicians are attempting to encourage and promote increased physical activity is through exercise prescriptions.

An exercise prescription is a personalized, specific exercise regimen based on a patient’s specific fitness level and goals. Like a prescription for medication, an exercise prescription spells out exactly what type of exercises to perform. It also recommends how often and how long to perform those exercises. Additionally, an exercise prescription is geared toward reaching a specific goal which may be different for individual patients (i.e. increased range of motion, increased functional ability or increased cardiovascular performance).

 

Symptoms

The potential benefits of exercise prescription include:

  • Lowers the risk of developing Type II Diabetes
  • Improves glucose control in current diabetic patients
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s
  • Improves cognitive function and decrease depression
  • Improves blood pressure control
  • Reduces the risk of some cancers

 

Sports Medicine Evaluation and Treatment

A sports medicine physician will perform a physical exam and conduct a complete review of your past medical history and family history. He or she will assess your current activity level and discuss any limitations or restrictions. A treadmill stress test may be performed to determine if it is safe for you to exercise if you are at high-risk for heart complications with exercise. Your physician will work with you to identify your specific, personal fitness goals and functional deficits. The intent is to develop a detailed and specific program to follow.

Components of an exercise prescription (“MDFIT”) can include:

  • Type of exercise (i.e. walking, running, strength training, etc.)
  • How long to exercise (minutes per day)
  • How often of exercise (how many times per week)
  • Intensity (low, moderate or high)
  • Timely Follow-up (close monitoring by your healthcare provider)

AMSSM Member Authors
Jerome J. Barron, DO and Shane L. Larson, MD

References
Carlson, SA et al. Trend and prevalence estimated based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Am J Prev Med. 2010; 39(4):3015-13.
Exercise is Medicine Web site [Internet]. Indianapolis (IN): American College of Sports Medicine; [cited 2017 Feb 04]. Available at http://www. exerciseismedicine.org/support_page.php/physical-activity-and-ncds/
Moore, GE. The role of exercise prescription in chronic disease. Br J Sports Med. 2004;38:6-7
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Surgeon Generalís Priorities [Internet]. Washington (DC). [cited 2017 Feb 01]. Available at https://www. surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/active-living/index.html

Category: Exercise,

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