Exercise is medicine. No, really. Exercise can prevent disease and improve chronic medical conditions. Think of an exercise plan as a prescription for health, the best kind of medicine. The American College of Sports Medicine founded Exercise is Medicine to promote physical activity for health. For seniors the message is clear. You are never too old to begin an exercise program and experience the benefits of physical activity.

Exercise is medicine. No, really. Exercise can prevent disease and improve chronic medical conditions. Think of an exercise plan as a prescription for health, the best kind of medicine. The American College of Sports Medicine founded Exercise is Medicine to promote physical activity for health. For seniors the message is clear. You are never too old to begin an exercise program and experience the benefits of physical activity.

Exercise and disease prevention and treatment, what do you know? T or F?

1. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death in the U.S.

2. Physical activity lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Most seniors have an exercise prescription.

Physical inactivity is a greater threat to overall health than hypertension or high cholesterol. It costs the U.S. health-care system an estimated $330 per person, or $102 billion annually. The Exercise is Medicine program has a wonderful website, www.exerciseismedicine.org, which is easy to navigate and provides tremendous information for patients, physicians and other health-care providers. Seniors can learn about the benefits of physical activity and how to start an exercise program. There is also information about talking to physicians about prescribing an exercise program.

Seniors should be encouraged to discuss physical activity and exercise prescription with their physicians. Unfortunately only 34 percent of adults report that they received exercise counseling at their last medical visit. The problem is that 40 percent of physicians do not engage in regular physical activity. Since exercise is medicine, seniors should seek out physicians who can help them develop a plan for exercise, just as they would seek out a heart or lung doctor.

According to EIM, active individuals in their 80s have a lower risk of death than inactive individuals in their 60s over a two-year period. They also lower their risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and hypertension by 40 percent; colon cancer by 60 percent and type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

Your Prescription for Health, a section on the EIM website, provides information about exercise and 40 specific medical conditions, including atrial fibrillation, COPD, arterial disease, diabetes and arthritis. Seniors will learn how exercise improves their specific medical conditions and quality of life.

Public health experts have long recognized the relationship between physical activity and disease. The challenge is how to move from a sedentary lifestyle to one in which physical activity is a part of everyday life. Exercise is Medicine makes this easier by providing a home for patients and physicians seeking improved health through the integration of physical activity into an overall health plan. That’s the best medicine.

Answers: 1. T;  2. T;  3. F.