Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exercise is Medicine

“Messages all around us urge us to exercise regularly. Volumes of medical literature proclaim the benefits of exercise: Exercise lowers blood pressure. Exercise helps to reduce and maintain weight. Exercise decreases the risk for certain cancers. And, the list goes on. Americans need to grasp the idea that exercise is, indeed medicine. Yet, in spite of these persistent exercise messages, Americans are not moving. In fact, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention state that 60 percent of Americans are physically inactive. To reinforce the urgency of the exercise message, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have launched “Exercise Is Medicine,” an initiative that will bring the topic of exercise into the physician’s office to be assessed by the physician as a vital sign – just as temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate are already being assessed at every comprehensive visit. Because exercise helps to prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, exercise is considered to be essential to everyone’s well-being. Exercise is an effective medication. In fact, exercise can prevent and cure many chronic conditions – doing in 30 minutes per day what dozens of prescription drugs try to do, without the potentially harmful side effects. By participating in regular exercise, you empower yourself. You give yourself the power to assume responsibility for your own life. No one can exercise for you; it is something you do for yourself. So, next time you visit with your doctor, be prepared oft the questions, ‘Are you exercising?’ or ‘How much exercise do you do?’ As a matter of fact, if you offer the information before your doctor asks, for it, he or she will know that you are serious about your health and that you are taking charge of your life.”

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