With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games starting this blog is a timely reminder to endorse the benefits of physical activity.

As the Australian public cheer on their favorite athletes from the comfort of her/his living room an oxymoron of sorts is this:

People are likely to be sitting on their glutes all day rather than getting out and using them! So while the Commonwealth Games is displaying the epitome of fitness, we are more likely to be sedentary and less physically active while we watch the athletes.

 

An evidence to practice gap in physical activity

A recent perspective paper in the Medical Journal of Australia discusses an “evidence-practice gap” of physicians. This means that while the evidence is strong in regards to the benefits of physical activity, there is an inadequacy in discussing and prescribing it to patients.

NOW, in no way am I slanting a bias towards exercise physiologist/scientists. However, physicians are typically the first line of contact for patient care, and thus, with physical inactivity being the fourth leading cause of morbidity/mortality worldwide (1) my premise is thus justified right?

The authors found that physicians who were themselves physically active, were more adept at discussing exercise over physicians who are physically inactive (3).

The benefits of physical activity are very well known (2). I am an evidence based analytical thinker, so when the evidence is very strong and robust – the likelihood for adherence is highly likely. Of course, there are “health professionals” and unfortunate reality television shows; that promote unhealthy physical activity.

Which is why I challenge the reader to ask her/his medical/health professional about the recommended physical activity guidelines. Do you know yourself? What the minimum physical activity guidelines are? What if your job entails eight hours of sitting a day… how much physical activity should one be achieving, based on evidence?

So many interrogatives!

 

So in summary, here’s some tips to help you increase your physical activity:

  • Query your medical and allied health team about the physical activity guidelines.
  • Ask your medical and allied health team – “am I safe to move”? 
  • Lastly, trust your source of information, including mine – by doing further research, while being mindful for confirmation biases.

 

Enjoy the games, and cheers to moving more!

James 👨🏼‍⚕️🏅

 

References:

  1. Lee IM, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, et al. Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. Lancet 2012; 380: 219-229.
  2. Pedersen BK, Saltin B. Exercise as medicine – evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. Scand J Med Sci Sports2015; 25: 1-72.

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