Exercise is Medicine

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.”

Exercise is Medicine® (EIM), a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), encourages primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to qualified exercise professionals for evidence-based exercise programs. The belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of over all health care. Prescribing physical activity in the right “dosage” is highly effective in the prevention, treatment and management of the most common chronic health conditions encountered. Health care providers, particularly those in primary care, are encouraged to assess patients’ physical activity records during their visits and to conclude the visit with an exercise "prescription" where needed.

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Jack W. Berryman
Department of Bioethics and Humanities and Adjunct, Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

INTRODUCTION The belief that exercise could be considered medicine, or part of medicine, is not new. In fact, before mainstream Western medicine and healthcare became more focused on ‘‘sick care’’ at the beginning of the 20 th century, a major part of a physician's duties focused on the preservation and promotion of health and the prevention of disease. In this context, physicians emphasized the importance of exercise and diet, or what became known as regimen. This strong emphasis on health, rather than disease, dates back to the two most prominent physicians of the ancient world: Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) and Galen (129-210 A.D.).

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