Risk factors

Exercise advice needs to be prescriptive: Daly


Clinicians need to be more prescriptive with their advice to patients on exercise, the conference has heard.

Speaking at this year’s ESASRBANZBMS annual scientific meeting on the gold coast Robin Daly, professor of exercise and ageing at Deakin University in Victoria said exercise was a medicine and should be prescribed in a similar way.

“Exercise is the most powerful medicine in the world to improve health outcomes and yet this is probably the first presentation at this conference on the topic,” he told delegates.

Professor Daly said physical inactivity was the fourth leading risk factor for death and was ahead of obesity and overweight yet was largely ignored by many people.

“The critical thing is to tell your patients that something is better than nothing,” he said.

“We need to encourage people to be fit but the question is, how do you do that?” he asked.

Unfortunately, for many clinicians in a five minute consult this is probably what they say: ‘get out there and do some exercise.’”

“But that is totally unhelpful, it’s just like saying here have a tablet and go and take that… the patient is going to have some questions”.

Professor Daly said clinicians needed to be a bit more more prescriptive and advise patients on:

The type of exercise prescribed: Modality

The dosage: Volume, frequency, intensity

How to take it: Type of equipment, exercises, supervision.

Interactions: Nutritional or pharmacological treatments for specific conditions, exercise, drug interactions

Side effects: Adverse events, risks of exercise

Compliance: Behavioural change program accompanying the exercise program, practical implementation needs.

 “No patient should ever leave your office without an assessment of his or her activity status and an exercise prescription or a referral to an accredited exercise physiologist or allied health professional,” he said.

Professor Daly also told delegates that exercise was important for bone and muscle health, but not all forms were equally effective.

Studies showed that type of exercise that had the greatest benefits for people with type 2 diabetes were aerobic and resistance training involving more than 150 minutes of exercise a week at a moderate to high intensity.

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