Start Exercising Already!
A Physician's Step-by-step Guide to Prescribing Exercise for Elderly Patients
Dr. A. S. Abdulla, BSC, MD, LMCC, CCFP, DipSportMed
I have spent many years counselling patients on the merits of dietary modifications in diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity. I have advocated the avoidance of salt and caffeine for hypertensives, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake for the prevention of osteoporosis, cessation of smoking for the improvement of cardiac and pulmonary risk factors, and cognitive therapy for depression and anxiety disorders. However, I have never found anything to have a more profound impact on all of the above medical conditions, as well as on a patient's general well-being, than a properly prescribed and facilitated exercise regimen. This article will briefly review the epidemiology of sedentarianism and the general benefits and risks of exercise, and will include a short primer on types of exercises along with a step-by-step approach to exercise prescription. The aim of this article is to help you increase the level of activity among your geriatric patients safely and to work through the basics of exercise prescription. The medical approach to dealing with more advanced levels of physical activity is beyond the scope of this article.
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