Exercise is Medicine

January 20, 2019 Joe Brady

Physical inactivity is a fast-growing public health problem and contributes to a variety of chronic diseases and health complications, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression and anxiety, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Exercise is Medicine® calls on each person dedicated to the idea that exercise truly is medicine to continue to build, support and advocate for physical activity as essential for global health and wellbeing. Read on for specific exercise prescriptions for various health problems.

Despite the health benefits of regular physical activity and the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle: 

  • According to the US 2016 National Health Interview Survey, 48 percent of adults are NOT meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity, and 78 percent of adults are NOT meeting the guidelines for both aerobic and strength training.
  • U.S. adolescents and adults spend almost eight hours a day in sedentary behaviors. 
  • Approximately 36 percent of adults engage in NO leisure-time physical activity at all.

Regular physical activity can:

  • Reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50%.
  • Lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%.
  • Reduce the risk of developing of Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 40%.
  • Reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by approximately 40%.
  • Lower the risk of stroke by 27%.
  • Lower the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58%
  • Be twice as effective in treating type II diabetes than the standard insulin prescription and can save $2250 per person per year when compared to the cost of standard drug treatment.
  • Can decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy.
  • Adults with better muscle strength have a 20% lower risk of mortality (33% lower risk of cancer specific mortality) than adults with low muscle strength.
  • A low level of fitness is a bigger risk factor for mortality than mild-moderate obesity. It is better to be fit and overweight than unfit with a lower percentage of body fat.

For more information see the Exercise is Medicine Website at http://www.exerciseismedicine.org

Your Prescription for Health: Access to Resources

Exercise is Medicine® created the Rx for Health series to provide essential guidelines on exercise for sedentary individuals and those with various chronic diseases and medical conditions. These handouts are designed to be used by health care providers and exercise professionals to support physical activity recommendations to patients/clients.

Each handout can printed and given to a patient or scanned into the electronic health record (EHR) to be added to the after-visit summary (AVS). 

We hope these materials will support your efforts to guide and inspire your patients and clients to become more physically active and achieve the numerous benefits associated with an active lifestyle.

Foundational Exercise Rx (NEW)

Disease-Specific Exercise Rx (NEW)

Disease-Specific Exercise Rx