Spanish scientists and health groups join the international campaign ‘Exercise is Medicine’ for doctors to prescribe it as a treatment
Exercise is medicine
The Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, the Research Network on Physical Activity and Health (Exernet), the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport and the Professional School of Medicine Physical Education and Sport have been the National Center EIM-Spain to join the international initiative Exercise is Medicine (EIM) that promotes the use of exercise not only as a habit of healthy life but also as a medical treatment for people with cardiovascular disease, mental illness, bone, metabolic, cerebrovascular, respiratory, or even cancer.
“The aim is to encourage physicians and pediatricians to include in routine inquiries valuing physical activity performed by patients – as now wonder whether they smoke or measure the tension, and when they see that do not get enough, prescribe them physical exercise, and not in a generic way, but with a concrete program of work according to their characteristics and conditions, “sums Jose Antonio Casajús, director of the center and Exernet. He quickly adds that, for these recipes to succeed, “doctors also prescribe have to be coordinated with local suppliers of exercise,” that is, with sports centers, gyms, recreation centers and seniors and professionals undertake actions aimed at the area to enable these people to carry out the program prescribed by the doctor. For example points out that, for a person with diabetes, the prescription will improve insulin resistance through aerobic work and improving muscle strength, information that should also have professionals who lead physical activity design exercises proposed.
“We have a lot of scientific evidence that exercise is a very powerful health, cheap and accessible tool because it can be performed in a great workout in a park, but are not being used effectively and the prevalence of inactivity and pathologies related to it are constantly increasing, so we need a greater involvement of all healthcare workers but also the municipalities, exercise professionals and many other institutions to exploit synergies and start working so coordinated, because the resources already exist, “says Casajús.
In this line, the center of EIM-Spain plans to promote the dissemination of scientific advice regarding the benefits of physical exercise on chronic noncommunicable diseases most prevalent in Spain, and offer specific programs for different pathologies activity through GUIDELINES available on its website, seminars and workshops aimed at improving the training and knowledge of doctors and sports trainers.
EIM strategy to coordinate all the groups and institutions that can contribute to a society more active was launched by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2008 and has had a great impact worldwide, achieving representation in countries on five continents as United States, Canada, China, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, South Africa, Australia and now Spain.
During the public presentation of the EIM initiative in Spain last Thursday in Zaragoza, Casajús said some of the scientific evidence existing on the benefits of physical exercise on health. Among them, demonstrating that include physical activity in the therapy of children with cystic fibrosis or cancer reduces the side effects of medication, which should be considered by medical professionals who deal with them to prevent a excessive overprotection keep them inactive. “According to the results of a recent study in children with acute leukemia linfoplástica, incorporating physical exercise to improve your fitness therapy between 15% and 20%, and the same goes for children with cystic fibrosis, who see reduced its possibility of entry by 10% “, experts corroborate the Spanish Association of Pediatrics in a statement.
Casajús also cited studies showing that physical activity reduces 30% doctor visits and protects up to 40% against stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer, and prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome. And for preventive health benefits, say the specialists-, simply perform 30 minutes of moderate five days a week exercise. However, physical inactivity is growing. Statistics indicate that 54% of Spaniards do not exercise enough and that 12% of Spanish children are sedentary, a reality directly related to the fact that childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years.
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