Exercise: The Newest "Prescription"

The newest “medicine” that should be prescribed? Exercise, according to a study.

Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Technology (QUT), in Australia, reached that conclusion after looking for five years at the impact of mental and physical health in women over 50.

Professor Debra Anderson , from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation , said that the research indicated that in addition to conventional treatments for physical and mental health, health professionals should be prescribing tailored exercise programs for older women.

“Studies clearly show moderate to vigorous intensity activity can have mental and physical health benefits, particularly when part of broader positive health changes,” Professor Anderson said.

“When once we thought that 30 minutes of mild exercise a day was enough to improve health, research is now telling us that older women should be doing at least 30-45 minutes five times a week of moderate to high intensity exercise and by that we mean exercise that leaves you huffing and puffing. It’s also important that the exercise be tailored to ensure that it is high intensity enough to obtain the apositive sustained effects of exercise.”

Anderson also emphasized that older women were capable of undertaking a range of activities beyond simply walking.

“Our studies show that mid-to-later in life women are jogging, running, hiking, swimming and riding,” she said. “Doctors should be developing exercise programs that are home-based and easy to incorporate as part of everyday activities.”

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