Exercise is Medicine® Australia [EIM], an initiative of Exercise & Sports Science Australia [ESSA], today announced its support for Heart Week 2013, the annual Heart Foundation campaign, whose theme this year is spotlighting the warning signs of a heart attack. Heart Week 2013 started on Monday and finishes on 11 May.
EIM encourages health-care providers to prescribe physical activity for disease prevention and treatment, and shares the Heart Foundation’s view that exercise can serve as a means of potentially preventing heart attacks.
“Statistics show that almost 10,000 Australians die annually from a heart attack. However, with a suitable exercise prescription, people can expect to manage – or even reduce – their risk,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, executive officer of ESSA. “Think of exercise as a directive from your health-care provider that can advance your overall physical and clinical fitness, as well as your mental health.”
“The benefits of exercise in preventing heart attacks far outweigh the risks,” continued Ms Hobson-Powell. “Regular moderate-intensity exercise has many benefits, from improved heart function to enhanced psychological wellbeing and favourable changes in body weight and composition.”
EIM offers free resources to educate the public on maintaining heart health, including these downloadable fact sheets:
· Chronic heart failure, www.exerciseismedicine.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/chronic-heart-failure_full.pdf
· Coronary heart disease, www.exerciseismedicine.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/CHD_full.pdf
For those interested in incorporating heart-healthy physical activity into their lifestyles, EIM makes available a free resource for the public. The PACE calendar – Public Activity Calendar of Events – lists fitness and activity opportunities for all levels, and can be viewed online at www.exerciseismedicine.org.au/active-workplaces/events.
“From fun runs to triathlons, ocean swims and more, EIM’s PACE calendar – which is updated frequently – offers activity choices for everyone,” said Ms Hobson-Powell.
EIM is also celebrating its second birthday. Ms Hobson-Powell noted this offers an occasion to look back on the initiative’s public health achievements – and ahead to campaigns planned for the upcoming year.
“A highlight of the past year for EIM was an expansion into workplace health, centring on a partnership with the Healthier Australia Commitment,” she shared.
The partnership featured the October 2012 launch of EIM’s ’Physical Activity in the Workplace: A Guide’, a toolkit that incorporates current evidence and best practices, including resources and audit tools. The Guide is available for free download from the EIM website, www.exerciseismedicine.org.au. Hard copies can be ordered from the ESSA Shop, www.essa.org.au.
The Guide was accompanied by EIM’s innovative, online ‘Be Active at Work Survey’, which provides instant, personalised feedback to participants and acts as a valuable needs analysis tool for an entire organisation. “We’re especially thrilled that the Survey also provides de-identified data, which can be leveraged to design interventions and measure the effectiveness of the program,” added Ms Hobson-Powell.
EIM also added 11 new, free-to-download fact sheets this past year, bringing its available total to 23. The new factsheets are on topics highly relevant to public health, and include these topics:
· Acquired Brain Injury
· Alzheimer’s disease
· Chronic heart failure and exercise
· Chronic pain
· Falls in older people
· Kidney disease
· Lower back pain
· Metabolic syndrome
· Parkinson’s disease
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, Ms Hobson-Powell said EIM’s focus will centred firmly on a greater focus of primary care engagement. “We’re looking forward to the upcoming launch of continuing education for GPs and practice nurses, and a repeat of our successful ‘31 Days, 31 Patients’ prescribed-exercise program,” shared Ms Hobson-Powell.
EIM will also keep a keen focus on its expansion into workplace health, and continue lobbying for inclusion of physical activity as a vital sign in medial software, according to Ms. Hobson-Powell.
Regardless of medical speciality, EIM encourages health-care providers to review and assess every patient’s physical activity levels at every visit. Patients should be counselled on exercise regimens, with visits concluding with exercise clearance and prescription or referral to an accredited exercise physiologist or fitness professional, according to EIM. The initiative’s goal is to generate improvement in the Australian public’s health, and long-term reduction in healthcare costs.
To learn more, visit www.exerciseismedicine.org.au.
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Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is the peak professional body for exercise and sports science in Australia and provides national leadership and advocacy on key issues. It supports its over 3,500 members and the community through fostering excellence in professional practice, education, training and research.
ABOUT EXERCISE IS MEDICINE®
Exercise is Medicine® as an initiative of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) aims to make physical activity and exercise a standard part of a disease prevention and treatment paradigm in Australia, improving community health and reducing long-term health care costs. The program hopes to make every Australian doctor consider physical activity and exercise as a standard part of treatment programs resulting in more people being prescribed exercise for either prevention or treatment of chronic conditions.
The three guiding principles of Exercise is Medicine® Australia, are designed to improve the health and well-being of all Australians through regular physical activity prescription from doctors and other allied health providers. The guiding principles are as follows:
· Physical activity and exercise are important to health and the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases;
· More should be done to address physical activity and exercise in health care settings; and
· Support the referral of patients to appropriately trained allied health professionals to deliver exercise treatment services.
Official Media Spokesperson for this release:
Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
327 Sandgate Road, Albion, QLD 41010
Tel: 07 3862 4122
M: 0400 519 800