UK’s Leading Doctors Recommend ‘Exercise as a Medicine’ For All Patients

Read this interesting report below courtesy of Ann Gates, REPs Council Member and Founder of Exercise Works!

The Royal College of Physicians has just approved the report: ‘Exercise for life: Physical activity in health and disease’

The report states:

‘There is evidence for the benefit of exercise in many forms of disease. It is effective, inexpensive, with a low side-effect profile, and can have a positive environmental impact. Despite this, there remains a reluctance within the medical profession to use exercise as a treatment. This probably reflects a lack of knowledge among doctors of the benefits of exercise, and a lack of practical skills in the prescription of exercise in disease states. Frequently, the risks of exercise are misunderstood and overestimated. The working party has concluded that there needs to be a concerted effort directed at improving medical knowledge and engagement in this process, and that there is an opportunity for the medical colleges and faculties to show leadership in this area and thus drive health

We know exercise advice and support to patients with non communicable diseases is lifesaving medicine. Patients deserve world class exercise expertise in helping them to enjoy healthier lifestyles. Health and fitness professionals are the experts in providing brief intervention on physical activity during consultations.

For exercise advice to work effectively, it has to be seen as regular, fun and help patient’s and their families to enjoy daily chores, leisure activities with friends and family, and work, within all abilities!

Saying to patients, make sure you exercise for 150 minutes each week, is like giving an asthma inhaler without showing a patient how to use it effectively and safely. Giving just 12 weeks of exercise referral prescription is like taking the asthma inhaler away after just 3 months of use.

For exercise advice to be a safe and effective medical intervention, we have to be prepared to say, ‘this patient has a non communicable disease, the exercise advice and support will be part of my continuing clinical care. I will ensure that any exercise plan is developed with the patient that suits their health needs, helps them to self manage their disease condition more effectively and enables them to feel the health benefits of regular exercise.’

Regular exercise advice consists of 150mins of heart healthy (cardiovascular) exercise together with twice weekly strength, flexibility and balance exercises. Here is a booklet to help you understand which exercises will suit your health needs best, and there are qualified health and fitness professionals, such as physiotherapists, cardiac and rehabilitation specialists and exercise professionals who can advise you further

Exercise advice and support has now been established as a critical part of evidence based medical care. While delivering the science and medicine, let’s not forget the art!

For more information on why ‘Exercise is a Medicine’ see Recommendations of the Sport and Exercise Medicine Committee Working Party of the Royal College of Physicians.
Ann Gates BPharm(Hons) MRPharmS
Founder of Exercise Works! and Author
Personal Trainer, Non Communicable Diseases Exercise Specialist, BACPR Exercise Instructor…. and on a mission to help every patient to access quality exercise advice and support from every health professional… globally!

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