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Physical activity: The silver bullet?

As highlighted in our previous blog, physical inactivity has become the biggest public health problem of the 21st century. Sports medicine clinicians are ideally placed to promote regular physical activity and educate the public on the ‘side effects’ of inactivity. Chapter 16 of the new Clinical Sports Medicine textbook titled ‘Principles of physical activity promotion for clinicians’ is co-authored by Doctor Vanessa Young from the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver, Canada.  The chapter reviews the practical elements of exercise prescription for physical activity promotion. As stated in a recent British Journal of Sports Medicine editorial titled ‘Can exercise advice be ‘made to stick’? Combining psychology and technology to improve patient uptake of physical activity prescription’:

“… physicians feel (shh!) less than expert at confidently prescribing exercise and the physiotherapist feels concerned that inappropriate prescription could lead to a major adverse event.”

Well-structured and monitored exercise prescription can lead to greater compliance, increased motivation and enhanced physical activity promotion. Chapter 16 details core components of exercise prescription and summarises recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine Physical Activity Guidelines which will add to any clinician’s knowledge and confidence in exercise prescription.

One of the primary authors of Clinical Sports Medicine, Professor Karim Khan, travels the world to promote regular physical activity and continues to feature as a regular keynote speaker at conferences on this very topic. You can download his recent lecture and accompanying podcast “How to supersize exercise: Lessons from Mad Men, Freakonomics and the Marlboro Man” from the University of Western Australia website. This lecture presents data demonstrating that poor fitness not only has a substantial impact on everyday health but also significantly influences mortality.

Challenging himself to an hour of physical activity each day, Professor Khan quotes personal statistics of only missing 11 days of activity in 2009, 5 in 2010 and 4 in 2011. Although this may sound extreme to some people, incorporating physical activity into his daily life has helped Professor Khan reach his personal fitness goals and motivate others. Examples of his daily physical activity include cycling to work and taking his students on walking meetings.

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