Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Fitness Prescription

Why don’t more Doctors encourage or strongly suggest exercise to their patients?

If you tell me they do, I’ll tell you that the patients aren’t following their advice. Just look around the waiting room at your next Doctors visit and ask yourself “do these people look like they are exercising regularly?” Keep it closer to home. Has your doctor spoken to you about exercising? If not, I ask that you consider switching doctors. I am very serious.

I bring up the original question because it’s and issue of Quality of Life & Death. If that isn’t worth thinking about; I don’t know what is?

Doctors do believe in exercise; in fact they run to it (no pun intended) when things go wrong. If a patient has back pain, they prescribe Physical Therapy (resistance training and stretching) if a patient has bypass surgery the advise Cardiac Rehabilitation (Treadmill walking and/or Stationary cycling.) To me this is putting the Cart before the Horse. If it’s good advice after, it’s great advice before. We teach people to look both ways before crossing the street, Right?

Isn’t “Prevention the mother of all medicine?”

So again I ask “Why don’t more Doctors encourage exercise?” Perhaps it’s just easier for them to write prescriptions for a pill? Osteoporosis? Take this Phosomax. Shoulder hurt? Take this Celebrex. Cholesterol a little high? Have some Lipitor. Besides, there is no profit in exercise to be made by a Doctor;but there is profit to be made in the writing of prescriptions. Now, I’m not saying that your Doctor is writing prescriptions that you may not need. I’m just wondering? Did you ever have a doctor write a prescription and say “try this and come back and see me if it doesn’t help?” Try this!?

What are you a Lab Rat?

Some people have suggested that some Doctors may be afraid of litigation; OK, I’ll play along. More people have died due to side effects of prescription medication then from falling off a treadmill. In fact, compare the warning labels of your little pill to any treadmill. Am I to believe that the suggestion of exercise will contribute to a lawsuit? If I suggest a restaurant and someone contracts food poisoning, am I liable?

Other people have mentioned the “lack of time” (Doctors have to spend with patients) as a reason for the “failure to encourage exercise.” OK, I’ll play along. Perhaps if they suggested it (exercise) more, the waiting room wouldn’t be so busy; then there would be more time for actual patient care. It’s kind of a “catch 22.” There is no time to suggest exercise because no one exercises!

I am not suggesting that exercise can cure Cancer.
I’m suggesting that exercise can help prevent Cancer; along with Heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyper Lipidemia, Obesity, Arthritis, Tendonitis, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Knee Pain, Shoulder Pain, Stress, Depression, Low Self Esteem, Daddy Issues and a whole host of “Illnesses” that the doctors just love to write us pills for.

My answer to the original question is this; they don’t care about your health. They care about your sickness. In the 21st century there are plenty of Doctors that know what YOU ALREADY KNOW, “Exercise is a part of a Healthy Lifestyle & is needed for a High Quality of Life.” If your Doctor doesn’t understand or stress the importance of this; It’s time to find a new Doctor.

Frank Pucher

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