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May 2014, Exercise is Medicine Month, Lauds the Benefits of Physical Activity

by Anne Bell | Apr 30, 2014

April 30, 2014

May 2014, Exercise is Medicine Month, Lauds the Benefits of Physical Activity

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

INDIANAPOLIS – The seventh annual Exercise is Medicine® Month kicks off on Thursday, 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 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.”

Exercise Lowers Health Care Costs
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.
“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.”

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,” Sallis said. “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 also 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 keep motivated.

Partners Help 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 South Africa, Italy, Canada and more.

Governors and mayors nationwide have already signed on to proclaim May 2014 as Exercise is Medicine Month in their communities.

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