Prescribing exercise as a treament for illness

In their workshop exploring the barriers to integrating physical activity into patient pathways, William Bird (GP and Chief Executive, Intelligent Health) and Kay Thompson (Strategic Lead for Health, Sport England) posed the provocative question – in the face of mounting evidence for the benefit of exercise in many forms of disease, why is the medical profession reluctant to use exercise as a treatment. Does this reflect a lack of understanding or insufficient practical skills in prescribing exercise in disease states?

Workshop delegates came to the following conclusions.

  • All parties, providers and patient participation groups must present a consistent offering to get the physical activity message across to GPs
  • Education is key. Anyone who has contact with a patient should be trained and CCGs should be brought on board
  • Physical activity industrialisation needs to be the next big thing

What do you think about the debate and its conclusions? Do you agree? let us know by leaving your comments below.