Exercise prescription

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Exercise prescription is the referral of patients to exercise programmes. The term is also used to describe the development of exercise programs.

Patient Referral[edit]

In the United Kingdom there is a scheme called "Exercise on prescription" in which doctors are able to prescribe exercise to those with conditions that benefit from it, such as asthma, depression or obesity. The initiative particularly aimed to lower the rate of heart disease. National standards for such initiatives from doctors were established by the Department of Health in 2001. Exercise on prescription aims to prevent deterioration of conditions, and views exercise as a preventative health measure. Fitness classes or a course at the local gym are available on prescription at a reduced rate to people who might benefit from them. It aims to make it easier for people to follow their doctors' advice about taking more exercise or losing weight.[1] Such preventative measures hope to lead to savings for the National Health Service.[2]

Researchers in New Zealand have also discussed the benefits of exercise referral by medical practitioners there.[3] In New Zealand it is known as a green prescription, while in the United States a similar initiative is known as Exercise is Medicine.

Exercise Program Development[edit]

Exercise prescription is designed to modulate acute exercise programming variables to create the adaptations desired by the individual or sport. With aerobic exercise prescription, the type of exercise, duration of exercise, frequency, and duration is adjusted. For resistance exercise prescription, the type of exercise, total session volume, rest period, frequency, and intensity are determined. [4] Prescription of stretching and other activities is also commonly seen.


  1. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1261950.stm Exercise on prescription (BBC)
  2. ^ [1] Exercise on prescription (Times)
  3. ^ http://www.hi-mag.com/healthinsurance/article.do?articleid=20001764961 Analysis: Workplace Wellbeing
  4. ^ Kraemer, W.J., Fleck, S.J., Deschenes, M.R. Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Chapter 12. (pages 353-384)

See also[edit]