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Health benefits of exercise 'not understood'


There is a lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals of the benefits of exercise, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has warned.

The risks of exercise are misunderstood and overestimated, the RCP said as it called for more use of physical activity in the treatment and management of disease.

Knowledge in sport and exercise medicine needs to be enhanced among healthcare professionals and should be taught to medical students as part of the national curriculum, an RCP spokeswoman said.

Professor Mark Batt, president of the faculty of sport and exercise medicine at the RCP, said: “Exercise is an effective and cheap prevention and treatment.

“Unlike many drugs there are few side-effects and of course it can be good for the environment too.

“Despite this, there remains reluctance among healthcare professionals, including doctors to ask about physical activity levels and use exercise as a treatment.

“There needs to be a concerted effort directed at improving medical knowledge and engagement and royal colleges should show leadership in this area.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • We drive round the corner to school with our children, we drive round the corner to the supermarket rather than walk,we sit watching ever more hours of TV, we use remote controls rather than getting up to switch chanels, fewer and fewer city dwellers cycle to work,or walk, or even walk to the bus stop or train station to go to work, we frighten ourselves into avoiding public parks because "stranger danger"has brainwashed us [and our children]. All of these factors encourage the plague of obesity before we even consider the sort of food that we eat.

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  • I agree with the above. I also think that a lot of health professionals don't understand the health benefits of exercise for patients because they are overweight and unfit themselves, and don't appreciate how much better you feel if you do exercise. There are a lot of very overweight nurses in the trust I work for.

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  • I agree with the above. i think health care personal are in obsession that the exercise protocol is for patients and will escape of disease related to inactivity. There are a lot of very overweight healthcare staff in our hospital.

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  • I agree with the above authors. However, would like to further point out that even if Healthcare Professionals are aware of the benefits of exercises to patients, they are scared of the implications of falls. I work with the elderly with dementia and once a patient is identified to be at risk of falls, if they stand up to stretch, staff quickly ask they to sit down. If they ask or attempt to mobilise to toilet, staff quickly get a wheel chair and wheel them to the toilet

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