exercise-is-medicineThe phrase ‘exercise is medicine‘ is becoming increasingly recognised as a fundamental form of treatment for various lifestyle related diseases. The Commonwealth Government has incorporated Exercise Physiology under Medicare’s allied health scheme. This has given medical practitioners the capacity to refer patients with chronic and complex illness to Exercise Physiologists for guided exercise therapy.

Evidence Based Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the process of making clinical decisions based upon research based evidence, combined with clinical experience and patient expectations. Our health and exercise clinic closely adheres to evidence based practice where all our practitioners are require to be well informed with up-to-date scientific evidence supporting their exercise prescription. Following the EBP principle when providing exercise therapy has been proven to significantly influence patient outcomes and improve certain chronic conditions. The fundamental goal of EBP is to combine clinical expertise, external scientific evidence and patients input, which allows practitioners to integrate the most appropriate treatment plan.

Drug Therapy Verse Regular Exercise

Exercise, unlike drug therapy, can significantly improve multiple chronic conditions simultaneously. The physiological benefits of regular strength and aerobic training are much greater than taking prescription medication as these drugs are manufactured to generally only target one specific health condition. J Vina et al, 2012 (1) states that, ‘Exercise is so beneficial for health that it should be considered and prescribed as a drug’. According the J Vina et al 2012 (1), there is clear evidence that regular physical activity  produces significant health effects and reduces the risk of premature death from any cause and cardiovascular disease.

Pedersen and Saltin, 2006 (2) and Warburton et al, 2006a (3) highlight that there is evidence for prescribing exercise in primary and secondary prevention of pulmonary and cardiovascular disease (CHD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, intermittent claudication); metabolic disorders (type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, obesity, insulin resistance); muscle, bone and joint diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis); cancer and depression.

ESSA Position Statements and Reports

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) have provided updated position statements, which elaborate on the role of exercise for the treatment of asthma, exercise prescription, special considerations, contra-indications and gaps in the current literature.

Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Factsheets

Exercise is Medicine Australia has developed the following factsheets to provide you with a detailed explanation of your condition, the benefits of regular exercise, how exercise produces benefits for your condition and the most appropriate type of exercise to target your  condition.

Resources

  1. Vina J, Sanchis-Gomar F, Martinez-Bello V & Gomez-Cabrera M.C 2012. ‘Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise‘. British Journal of Pharmacology, vol 167, pp. 1-12.
  2. Pedersen B.K & Saltin, B 2006. ‘Evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in chronic disease‘. Scand Journal Medicine Science Sports, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 3-36.
  3. Warburton D.E, Nicol C.W, Bredin S.S 2006a. ‘Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence‘. Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol. 174, pp. 801-809.
  4. Exercise and Sports Science Australia: Position statements and reports, Exercise and Sports Science Australia, viewed 18 May 2015. https://www.essa.org.au/for-media/position-statements/
  5. Exercise is Medicine Australia: Factsheets, Exercise is Medicine Australia, viewed 18 May 2015. http://exerciseismedicine.org.au/health-care-providers/factsheets-2