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Exercise Right for Doctors Week: Empowering more doctors to prescribe exercise to Australians

Exercise Right for Doctors Week

The message is simple. Exercise is the best, cheapest, and most accessible medicine available, and in order to improve chronic disease mortality rates, people need to move more.

Despite this fact, medical students enrolled in a five-year medical degree only spend an average of five hours learning about exercise and physical activity, which can lead to a gap in doctors utilising exercise as medicine and referring their patients to experts of exercise – Accredited Exercise Physiologists.

“Accredited Exercise Physiologists are the best placed allied health professionals for prescribing exercise to those living with chronic conditions, and currently, approximately half of all Australians are currently living with a chronic health condition,” said Juliana Mahon, Exercise is Medicine® Australia Project Officer.

A referral from a doctor or GP is one of the easiest ways for Australians to gain subsidised access to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. In light of this, Exercise Right for Doctors Week aims to educate doctors and nurses about the benefits of prescribing exercise to their patients and the importance of referring to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Exercise Right for Doctors Week, currently running from 23 – 29 November 2020, is an important campaign run by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) in partnership with Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) Australia which promotes free, accredited education for doctors and nurses.

“This free online course has been designed to highlight the importance of exercise for overall health and introduces subsequent behaviour-change strategies specific to the adoption of exercise as a regular part of their lifestyle. It also highlights the supporting role of Accredited Exercise Physiologists in assisting patients to establish an exercise program best suited to their needs,” explained Juliana.

“The course only takes approximately two hours to complete and is also eligible for CPD points with the RACGP, APNA and ACRRM.”

This year’s campaign also features Doctor Do More – Dr Ash Bowden, an Emergency Department Doctor on the Central Coast. Dr Ash highlights the importance to his fellow doctors and nurses of referring their patients to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to improve their physical and mental health through exercise.

Dr Ash also reaches out to the general public about speaking to their own doctor about using exercise as medicine and asking for a referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, the exercise specialists.

“Dr Ash is passionate about improving health and happiness through physical activity and serves as an inspiring spokesperson to empower his colleagues to utilise exercise as medicine and refer their patients to the right accredited exercise professional, but also to maintain their own health through physical activity.”

To find out more about Exercise Right for Doctors, as well as access the range of free education and resources, visit the Exercise Right website.


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