Exercise - the best prescription

2 minutes

Just what the doctor ordered!

When you go to your local GP for a chronic disease it is common to prescribe a dosage of medicine, for example, high blood pressure with blood thinners and beta-blockers. This has widely been the accepted form of practice and a very effective way to manage health problems, however, what if there was a specific dosage of exercise prescribed?

Advances in exercise physiology as well as using many exercises we have known to be beneficial for ages are now allowing GPs and Exercise Physiologists to prescribe specific intensities and types of exercises for specific conditions. Gone are the days of just going for a 20-minute walk 5 days a week. Specific intensities of weights exercises can now treat the chronic disease to the same degree, if not more effective than medication. Take diabetes for example. A dosage of exercise would weight training 3 times a week at 100% intensity. This is to allow for hypertrophy (muscle growth) and increased uptake of glucose. A study in 2002 found that 6 months of resistance training reduced Hba1C levels in Type II Diabetics by 1.2% - a clinically significant change.

The same results have been seen with depression which again is commonly treated with medication. A study in 2006 found that when compared with medication exercise produced larger reductions in depression symptoms.

Exercise and Sports Science Australia has established an organisation known as “Exercise is Medicine" as a resource for GP's and other health professionals to use with more specific information about diseases and prescriptions of exercise. For more information go to exerciseismedicine.org.au.

Written by Luke Dorizas

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