Doctors Prescribing Exercise as Medicine – Wall Street Journal

“The older I get the more medicines I find myself taking,” a Senior Citizen.

This is a common lament among seniors. But the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has a new and better idea. They declared May of 2014 as Exercise is Medicine month.


“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 the Exercise is Medicine. “Every person, regardless of age and health, is responsible for his or her own physical activity. There are far more reasons to exercise than excuses not to.”

Research shows that exercise has a role in the treatment and prevention of more than 40 chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension, an ACSM press release pointed out.

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

Eat less; move more has long been the mantra of this blog. It is nice to see the mainstream moving ahead in the same vein.

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a feature by Laura Landro entitled Doctors Dole Out Prescriptions for Exercise!

This is a direct result of the ACSM program.


“Although the benefits of exercise in preventing and controlling a number of diseases are well-known, studies show that doctors don’t always counsel patients on adding more physical activity. About half of Americans report that they meet federal guidelines to engage in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, but not everyone owns up to how little exercise they get, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found only about 10% of adults actually met recommended levels, though 62% reported they did.

Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen and instead of medicines, I ride my bike regularly and walk whenever I can. Last year, I pedaled over 7000 miles on my bike and as a a result of that and careful eating, I generally find myself in the best health of my life. I wrote about my aversion to taking statin drugs in Do I Have to go on Statin Drugs for the Rest of my Life to Fight High Cholesterol?

The Journal reported, “So many people look at exercise with fear and trepidation as if it’s something to be endured or swallowed like a bad-tasting medicine. But the reality is once people begin to move and gain strength and fitness they realize what a gift it is to feel agile and healthy,” says Susanna Carter, a Birmingham, Ala., obstetrician and gynecologist who left her medical practice last year to start Project 150, using Skype and email to counsel patients on exercise and nutrition.”

The Journal piece cites numerous examples of folks who took up exercise instead of medication and experienced very positive results.

The ACSM program “Exercise is Medicine” has training for doctors in more than 40 countries.

If you, like a lot of us, are concerned about your medical care going forward as Obamacare becomes the law of the land, it seems a good time to rethink previous sedentary ways and take a positive step toward maintaining your health without having to resort to doctor’s prescriptions.

I hope my excitement about this news and program is understandable, especially to regular readers. I have said from the beginning that we need to get out and move. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for more.


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Filed under ACSM, aging, Exercise, medicine, Wall Street Journal

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