Exercise is good for them! Patients listen to you. Just as patients fill their prescriptions and take their medications, they will exercise if you give them a prescription.
All health professionals can prescribe exercise to their patients in line with Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing a little, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
1. Treat exercise like a vital sign – just as you measure, record and monitor BP – measure, record and monitor PHYSICAL ACTIVITY at every visit
2. Make a conversation about exercise a standard part of every consultation
3. Make exercise a standard part of your chronic disease prevention, management and treatment strategy
Each patient contact is an opportunity for you to make a difference.
The EIM Framework is a simple, fast and effective tool for use in every day practice. This is a process to help you start the conversation and to ultimately change the behaviour of your patients. If you only have 1-2 minutes:
(or get your patients to complete the PA form before their consultation)
1. How many days per week do you exercise?
2. How many minutes per day?
3. At what intensity do you exercise (moderate or vigorous)
If you have no concerns about your patient exercising safely, select your physical activity counselling strategy (or use the PA stage of change assessment tool):
1. Discuss the benefits of exercise
2. Give them the EIM brochure or relevant factsheet (if they have a medical condition)
3. Give an exercise prescription focusing on getting started (if patient safe to exercise)
1. Give an exercise prescription focusing on getting more exercise
1. Provide continual encouragement to keep your patient moving
If you have more than 1-2 minutes, continue the framework, otherwise refer your patient to a practice nurse or allied health professional for steps 2-5.
If you have concerns about your patient’s safety during exercise, then the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System can be useful in identifying any issues of concern.
For patients with complex medical conditions, you might consider referral to a Sport and Exercise Physician who can assess your patient and provide recommendations about exercising safely.
Determining which stage of change your patient is in can help you tailor your advice and exercise prescription to each patient.
The PA stage of change assessment tool is useful in identifying the stage of change your patient is at and then providing appropriate goals and strategies to increase their success in moving more.