Friday, August 31, 2012

Should Lack Of Exercise Be Considered A Medical Condition?

When was the last time that you heard a medical doctor tell a patient, “you have a bad case of deconditioning?”  Many of you out there may ask; what is deconditioning?  Deconditioning is actually a large problem in our society; it is the unnatural state of being physically inactive. When the transition occurred no one knows, but the human race quickly went from being a species that was active most of the time to one that is increasingly sedentary.

"The Lancet recently called it an inactivity pandemic responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide."  When looked at it this way, inactivity, and therefore deconditioning sounds a little bit more serious than one might have first thought. Think about that, 1 in 10 deaths worldwide! From previous blog posts, research articles, and the news, we know that inactivity leads to many issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and much more.

This month in the Journal of Physiology, physiologists at the Mayo Clinic explain that in order to deal with the problem we need to make physical inactivity a mainstream medical diagnosis. "This is one of the most common preventable causes of illness and death... that there is one universally effective treatment for, exercise training." The problem with this is the change needs to come from many facets of life. Our entire medical system relies on inactivity. Insurance companies reimburse billions of dollars a year for pills for diseases related to inactivity but rarely help pay for exercise training, wellness programs, and even physical therapy without a diagnosis of pain.

In the past century medical doctors have had great influence on their patients, educating patients that smoking causes cancer and kills. It was even the medical doctors who started educating patients on using seatbelts and car seats in cars to decrease mortality rates. Why can't the lack of exercise be a mainstream diagnosis given to patients and explained to them that it can actually kill them?

This is a call to all healthcare providers; medical doctors, doctors of physical therapy, athletic trainers, and personal trainers to push their patients and clients to get out there and exercise. These medical professionals can also help in the community by showing patients that there are alternatives to gyms, which often cost a lot of money, such as showing them where the nearest bike lanes or parks may be.

Let's change the way we look at inactivity.  It can kill you!


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