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Doctors to prescribe exercise as medicine

Doctors to prescribe exercise as medicine
May 20, 2011

A new 'Exercise is Medicine' campaign, being launched today, will see doctors issue prescriptions for regular exercise.

In a move to combat rising health issues in Australia, medical and health professionals are being encouraged to prescribe routine exercise to help people manage their conditions and reduce the burden on an over-stretched health system.

And with good reason says the Chair of 'Exercise Is Medicine', Chris Tzar, who states "we know that exercise is an integral treatment for most of the top ten chronic illnesses in our society today. For conditions ranging from diabetes to osteoporosis and depression, regular exercise is one of the most potent treatments for the underlying mechanisms of the disease."

However, it's not just for managing conditions that exercise is of critical importance.

As Professor Jeff Coombes, President of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) explains "inactivity is the second leading lifestyle-related cause of chronic illness in Australia - only behind smoking.

"So as we have seen in the research presented at this medical conference today, regular physical activity is most important for preventing disease - not just treating it."

The goal of Exercise is Medicine is to encourage doctors to focus on physical activity as a vital sign during patient visits. Able patients will be advised to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity plus light muscle training most days of week. A new website will provide educational materials and resources for doctors to use in their practices, as well as important information for the general public including a national database of exercise physiologists.

Tzar adds "we need to start getting the message across to all Australians of the critical importance of regular physical activity to prevent chronic disease, as well as treat it. If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most effective medications available today, without the negative side-effects."

For more information contact Chris Tzar on 0408 117 440, E: christzar@essa.org.auwww.exerciseismedicine.org.au 

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