SILVER SPRING, MD – September 30, 2013 – If you listen to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the biggest benefit of exercise is that it works! In a nutshell, the ACSM subscribes to the following mindset: “Exercise Is Medicine.®”
According to the ACSM, physical activities such as sports, exercise, and active play are as vital to health as good nutrition. Physicians are quick to agree how much better their patients feel when they get the recommended amount of physical activity: 150 minutes per week for adults and 300 minutes per week for children. The ACSM supports the concept that exercise is an easy way to improve and maintain health as the benefits include savings on health care expenses, better social interactions and improved cognitive performance.
“What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity?” said Robert Sallis, MD, Chair, Exercise is Medicine. Behind that question is a growing body of research that shows physical activity can help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases.
In a letter written to ACSM by Drs. Felipe Lobelo and Gautam Nayak, “Research consistently shows surprisingly, that the number-one predictor of whether a doctor gives preventive counseling is that doctor’s own health habits and practices. Active physicians are two to five times more likely to provide activity counseling to their patients compared with inactive physicians. This is the essence of the Exercise is Medicine philosophy: active doctors preaching what they practice and walking the talk.”
Both doctors are members of the U.S. Medical Soccer Team and they openly encourage all Americans to“make time to enjoy daily physical activity. Walking, running, kicking, or just playing – it’s all good fun, with abundant benefits.”
The ACSM’s stance on the value of exercise is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Exercise Works!, a British-based organization that is dedicated to educating and supporting health professionals to understand the benefits of exercise and enabling them to give constructive exercise advice to patients.
According to ExerciseWorks!, all health professionals should consider exercise as a ‘medicine’ in its own right, recommending and prescribing physical activity at all appropriate opportunities. As a preventative, physical activity should be recommended for many diseases as a first-line treatment.
“Physical activity is the closest thing we have to ‘wonder’ drug,” said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC. “Being active is one of the most important things people of all ages, sizes, and shapes can do to improve their health. There is no single medicine that comes close to what physical activity can do.”
50 Fun ‘Prescriptions’ For Better Health
Americans can pick from more than 50 sports or fitness activities to improve their fitness and health. PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh said that is one of the main reasons PHIT America developed the PARTICIPATE database. “No matter what you pick, you can find a “medicine” to get you active, fit and prevent health issues…and have fun! When Americans are more fit, they can help prevent health care costs before they develop. Just go to PARTICIPATE on PHITAmerica.org to find a program or activity in your area.”
The ACSM, Exercise Works!, the CDC, and PHIT America are in agreement on that point: Active children tend to be active adults. That’s why daily P.E. in our schools is so important. It is the foundation for a healthy and productive lifestyle.
On a global level, the U.S. is not the only country in the world which is facing an inactivity pandemic and an obesity crisis. This is a global issue. Fortunately, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, “exercise -- an important solution -- is just as universal and is also quite enjoyable.”