Prescriptions for exercise promoted by doctor

A P.E.I. doctor is using a special pad to write exercise prescriptions for her patients.

Dr. Chris MacNearney promoting use of exercise prescriptions to other doctors

Dr. Chris MacNearney has been prescribing exercise to some of her patients, including Tawnia Craig, using a special, detailed prescription pad. 2:30

A P.E.I. doctor is using a special pad to write exercise prescriptions for her patients.

Dr. Chris MacNearney has been prescribing exercise to some of her patients for several months, through a group called Exercise is Medicine Canada, and recently gave a presentation on the practice to a group of Island doctors.

"Exercise is actually medicine. It treats almost every chronic medical condition," said MacNearney.

Dr. Chris MacNearney and patient Tawnia Craig discuss exercise. (CBC)
"That one thing changes so many problems in people's health and adds to such improvement in quality of life. You can't ignore it, but the question is how do you make the time, or network with other professionals, so that this information is getting out there to everyone."

Research cited by Exercise is Medicine suggests regular exercise has countless health benefits, and not just fighting obesity. It's believed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40 per cent, and the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 50 per cent. The group says exercise also can have impacts on breast cancer, diabetes and depression.

MacNearney said exercise prescriptions take longer to write than ones for pharmaceuticals.

"If people are ready, you say I'd like you to come back, book a separate appointment," she said.

"Let's take 15 minutes or 20 minutes, go through what you do now, and then determine what might be advantageous to your health and might be doable, and set up goals that are reasonable."

MacNearney plans to continue promoting the benefits of prescribing exercise, and hopes to get more doctors using the new prescription pad.

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