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Exercise is medicine

By Ms. Arletta Eldridge-Thompson 2nd Medical Group

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The Air Force is committed to encouraging physical activity for the health benefits it brings all people.

In May 2008, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association launched the first ever Exercise is Medicine Campaign. This initiative was formed to recognize, emphasize and celebrate the valuable health benefits of exercise on a national scale. The case is compelling:

- Exercise and physical activity are powerful medicine indeed, helping prevent or treat numerous chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiac disease and diabetes.

- Research shows significant health benefits for those who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.

- A recent survey by American College of Sports Medicine reveals that, while four out of 10 physicians talk to their patients about the importance of exercise, they don't always offer suggestions on the best ways to be physically active.

- According to the same survey, nearly two-thirds of patients would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if advised by their doctor and given additional resources.

If there were a drug that could so powerfully fight America's obesity epidemic and the health implications it brings, surely every physician would be eager to prescribe it.

This is the moving force behind "Exercise is Medicine," a program of ACSM supported by the American Medical Association. Able patients are advised to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity and 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week.

Observe "Exercise is Medicine" in your daily life by taking these important steps:

- Ask a few questions about your health status the next time you visit your doctor. Are you at a healthy weight? Taking your current health status into consideration, what types of exercise are best and safest for you? Is there a certified trainer or registered dietician you should visit to improve your health?

- Parents, give your children the gift of lifelong wellness by being a role model and supporting them in establishing a habit of lifelong physical activity. Have fun being active as a family.

To learn more about "Exercise is Medicine," visit www.exerciseismedicine.org. Let's all enjoy a regular, healthy dose of exercise!