Personal Exercise Prescriptions Are Needed Because Exercise is Medicine
There’s a wonderful story in Newsweek this week highlighting the need for exercise prescriptions for cancer patients. It’s great to see mainstream media putting aside the fitness industry “six pack” hype in favor of highlighting the science of exercise as medicine. We love that the article does more than capture the importance of physical activity when it comes to helping people lose weight, improve their mood, get better sleep, improve their energy levels and sex drive, and reduce the risk of a wide variety of illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease. It goes much further by highlighting that doctors at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) are so confident in the ability of exercise as medicine to improve the lives of cancer patients that they are calling for exercise prescriptions.
This is becoming even more important as we face the fact that 59 million Baby Boomers are living with a chronic health condition (47% have two). As this generation faces an explosion of age-related injuries and health conditions, they will create a transformative consumer medical fitness market filled with home exercise prescriptions for more physical activity, cardio, and resistance training. These exercise prescriptions will not be about improving their looks, but to help with balance to prevent falls, brain cognition, increasing strength to perform everyday activities, moving to manage joint pain, rehabbing to recover from injury, prefab to prevent injury and so on.
Some will be told to join a gym without specific examples except to “get more cardio” or “lift weights”, leaving most people lost as to what to do next with no prolonged strategy to maintain a realistic routine. Others will be given customized exercise prescriptions for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, MS, COPD, osteoporosis, arthritis, joint replacements and so much more. These exercise prescriptions will include fitness-related activities designed for a specific purpose following an injury, a disability, or a chronic health condition. It’s this approach that will help people stay focused, motivated, and more likely to achieve their goals.
At Excy, we believe the key is to make quality cardio and resistance-training exercises easily accessible at home, work, and while traveling to meet people exactly where they are in the journey. For some, that might mean exercising in bed or from the couch during a favorite TV show, or even from the kitchen table. For others, it will incorporate training at a gym, rehabilitating an injury in a physical therapy clinic, engaging in yoga, walking the dogs, gardening, or engaging in sports.
Regardless of what people do to get more physical activity, we have to talk more about the science of exercise as medicine to keep people moving and to make it a priority, even when it’s hard. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. The best place to start is to get the exercise prescription that is right for you. That conversation should start with your doctor. If that doctor doesn’t believe in customized exercise prescriptions or doesn’t connect you to someone who does like a physical therapists, it might be time to find a new doctor.