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Doctors MUST Prescribe Exercise For Better Health

One of the more popular articles I've posted about the benefits of exercise in recent years described a movement by some doctors to fight the onset of obesity and diabetes more safely, sanely and naturally by prescribing an individual physical fitness program for their patients.

For doctors who haven't the faintest clue about how to begin that process, however, a pair of family physicians from the University of Michigan have developed a practical guide to nudge their colleagues into working with their sedentary patients to prescribe an exercise program.

Data from the study may have been limited, but it didn't stop researchers from pointing out that their peers have a far greater responsibility in communicating the benefits of exercise, encouraging a greater amount of physical activity and taking a more active role in doing so.

The approaches vary from patient-centered collaborations with their doctors to helping patients form individualized exercise plans based on their skills and expertise, all of them designed to get people moving, because, as one researcher so brilliantly pointed out, Sitting still is making people sick.

For most of my life I have focused on endurance aerobic training. When I was competing in college, and for the next 15 years, I used to do interval training, but since I haven't competed for over 15 years, I stopped those workouts. However, I have become ever more impressed with the convincing evidence of the usefulness of this technique.

Now, I now only run once a week and do sprint training combined with pull-ups, dips, and singles tennis whenever I can find someone to play with. I just love tennis because it is, without question, the most fun I have when I exercise, and it gives a great opportunity to move in so many different directions.

This was motivated by Al Sears, MD who reawakened me to the value of interval training with his take on it which is called the P.A.C.E. program.

I also recently started Russian kettlebell training, which is also a very short high-intensity, interval-type activity. DragonDoor is the organization that introduced Russian kettlebells and is where you can find out more about them.

I, now, firmly believe that although endurance cardio training is important, it really needs to be part of a more comprehensive program that includes short bursts of activity at very high intensity that is individualized for your specific fitness level.

Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, Vol. 14, No. 3, March 2007: 161-171

Diabetes Health April 26, 2007

Rocky Mountain News April 24, 2007