Exercise Is Medicine (EIM) is a global movement that the president of the American College of Sports Medicine—ACSM—initiated. It’s an effort to improve the knowledge of doctors to the benefits of exercise and urges physicians to assess each patient level of physical activity and even use exercise as one of the prescriptions. When doctors find a patient that’s inactive and needs assistance, a referral to a local resource for help getting fit is given to the patient.
Why is this movement important?
For years personal trainers and people involved in the world of fitness have been helping clients become fit and healthier through exercise and diet. Unfortunately, many physicians don’t have the knowledge or training to promote this. In fact, many receive only a few hours of training in the benefits of exercise and an average of less than 20 hours of training in nutrition. In the 1980s, only 37 percent of medical schools provided just one course in nutrition. The rest had none. Today, that number is even lower, averaging about 27 percent. The reason is obvious, there’s so much information in our fast moving world of technology, that the basics, exercise and a healthy diet, are left behind.
The new approach is providing more training and using specialists.
Exercise in medicine is a movement to help doctors recognize the need for changes in lifestyle to achieve a healthy body. It’s a hope that physicians will identify people at risk for serious conditions and help them reroute their lives before their body succumbs. Some schools of medicine, such as the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, which opened in 2012, adopted physiology and exercise science as part of their curriculum, to help new physicians understand the importance of fitness and use that information to help clients live healthier.
Will this movement take hold and change medicine?
If a patient comes in with uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure, the physician will still prescribe the necessary medications to get them healthier. If it’s an enlightened physician, he or she will also prescribe exercise and diet and help the patient find the resources to make the changes easier. Instead of just treating the symptoms, the doctor will take an active part in helping the patient treat the problem that caused the symptoms.
- Before you start any program of exercise, always get a physical, to ensure you have no hidden conditions that could cause a problem or a known condition that might require monitoring of medications.
- Be aware that exercising and healthy eating are two foundations for a healthy body. It needs to be part of your healthcare plan regardless of your age.
- If you have a serious condition or are recovering from a lengthy illness or condition, such as a stroke or heart attack, always tell your personal trainer. Make sure you give your okay to your doctor to discuss your health with your trainer to get the best merging of medicine and fitness that’s available.
- Even though Exercise Is Medicine has been around since 2007 and supported by the AMA and Office of the Surgeon General, not all doctors or insurance companies are aware of the benefits or program. Check to see if your doctor and/or insurance company is.