Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CNN posted an article today focusing on new research that shows as little as 10 minutes a day of exercise is beneficial for obese women. I think this reaffirms many of our beliefs that increasing activity in any way is helpful to the sedantary adult. The thought of a rigid 60 minute exercise session a day turns the majority of us away from becoming more active. This article can be a tool to help get more effort out of the reluctant patient.

An experience I had last year can help illustrate how PT's and research like this can help the general public. I was co-treating in a pro bono clinic with a physician. We evaluated a women with a history of IDDM and a 2 month old foot fracture. At the end of the eval the physician turned to the patient and said "you need to loose 100lbs in order to improve your health. Follow up in 3 months to check your progress". I'm sure that motivated her to go out and join a health club!

When the physician left, it was my turn to discuss with the patient some changes she could make to slowly increase her activity levels. These included simple tasks such as walking 3 laps around her home during commercials, parking 1 row further out from the store, and taking 1 flight of stairs to work and then the elevator to the last 3 flights.

I believe simple semantic change away from pushing an "exercise program" on the sedentary and obese and instead championing "increased activity" (which, down the road, should include specific cardiovascular exercise) will lead to better outcomes.

As I tell all my patients, "Doing something is better than doing nothing".


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