Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients and referring their patients to EIM Credentialed Exercise programs and exercise professionals.
EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity is integral in the prevention and treatment of diseases and should be regularly assessed and treated as part of all healthcare. Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in an expenditure of energy.
EIM is a non-profit initiative which also includes “May-Kit Happen”, a commemorative program launched in May 2008, asking people to incorporate a little more physical activity into their lives and to talk to their physicians during the month of May about what types of exercises are best suited to their conditions and circumstances,
The objective of the EIM program is to encourage physicians to record physical activity as an important sign during the visit of their patients. They shall advise their patients to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity and 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week.
The guiding principles of EIM are designed to improve the health and well-being of the people through regular physical activity prescriptions from doctors, physicians, health care providers, and fitness professionals.
Physical inactivity is a fast-growing public health problem and contributes to a variety of chronic diseases and health complications. Physical inactivity causes nearly 1 in 10 premature deaths. According to WHO, physical inactivity constitutes the 4th leading cause of death after high blood pressure, tobacco use, and high blood glucose, with about 3.3 million deaths per year. To win the battle against premature death, chronic diseases, and obesity, a health care system must be developed that supports the diagnosis and treatment of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. So, here is the need for EIM.
EIM creates a broad awareness that exercise is indeed medicine. EIM encourages physicians and other health care providers to be physically active. Physical activity is integral to the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. According to one research, a low level of physical activity exposes a patient to a greater risk of dying than smoking, obesity, high cholesterol or hypertension. Physical activity can reduce mortality and the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by approximately 40%. Regular physical activity may allow a physician to significantly reduce a patient’s drug dosage or eliminate the need for medicine altogether. Physical exercises also help in preventing excess weight gain, improving your chances of living a longer and healthier life, and in improving your ability to perform actions of daily living.
Regular physical activity can increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to your body and tissues which improves muscular strength and cardiovascular-respiratory efficiency. It not only improves your physical health but also improves your mental health. As per some studies, regular exercise can reduce stress and elevated mood.
As per one study, active individuals above the age of 80 have a lower risk of death as compared to inactive individuals above the age of 60. Lifestyle behaviors, including poor diet and physical inactivity, are leading to higher rates of chronic disease. More should be done to address physical activity and exercise in health care settings. EIM’s objective is to increase activity through efforts aimed at changing the health care environment to one that supports physical activity promotion.
EIM is working with global partners to create tools and systems that will support health care providers in their role in promoting physical activity. ACSM encourages all health and fitness professionals to counsel their patients and clients that exercise is medicine.