Rx-ercise: A Prescription Better Than Medicine?

Doctors Prescribe Exercise

Recently, there have been several articles and news stories about doctors prescribing exercise to their patients to help combat illnesses and ailments as opposed to medications. In an age where there seems to be a pill for everything, I was curious about this approach to healing.

A prescription for exercise.

A Lap a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Winnipeg doctor Kevin Saunders writing prescriptions for exerciseCBCNews. April 27, 2015.

A wellness institute in Winnipeg that is attached to the general hospital is using exercise prescriptions over pills to treat hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and according to the article, even some types of cancer. There is also a case study highlighting a man who had been prescribed medication for multiple symptoms associated with obesity. This man decided to begin a running program instead of taking the medication and proceeded to lose 50 pounds while adding swimming, marathons and triathlons into his regimen, putting him into the best shape of his life and medication free.

Prescriptions to walk 45 minutes

Physicians in SF are prescribing park time to patients. The Examiner. April 26, 2015.

Dr. Daphne Miller is writing prescriptions for her patients that order 45 minutes of walking or running four days a week, with unlimited refills. Dr. Miller is not alone in that other local docs are participating in an initiative designed to increase time spent outdoors, with health professionals being trained to make the referrals to parks for exercise. Teaching patients about taking advantage of open space to exercise and explore will ideally help them find alternatives to medicine. The program has been a success thus far and looks to be expanded later this year in other sections of the Bay Area. 

An integrative approach

Prescription for better health? Treating mind and bodyThe Clarion-Ledger. May 2, 2015.

Matthew Tull, an associate professor of psychiatry, is part of a group trying to bring an integrative medicine center to the University of Mississippi Medical Center where exercise is prescribed over medicine and the focus is on wellness and prevention. This can include meditation, self-reflection, breathing exercises, and yoga. The article goes on to show that integrative medicine reduced healthcare costs of expensive medications and one-on-one solutions, as most of the integrative methods can be done in groups.

Fit fitness into your life

There are plenty of great cardio activities you can perform outdoors to get your exercise in, as featured in this previous article highlighting exercises to fit in your daily life, like running, cycling and swimming. Maybe it is something as simple as a walk during a lunch break, or a bike ride after work, relaxing as you tend to your garden, or just turning your brain off for a few minutes while you soak up some sun. Take a yoga class, jump on the Arc Trainer or strengthen your muscles in the weight room. Whatever you choose, get outside or hit the gym and focus on ways to improve your health through exercise and fitness. 

Disclaimer

Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a pre-existing medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.

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