Reasons Behind the Growing Popularity of Exercise Prescription

exercise prescription

When you are feeling unwell, it is common to leave your doctor’s office with a medical prescription. In addition to general advice to exercise regularly, you may also receive a personalized exercise plan designed to target a specific health concern. This personalized plan is known as an exercise prescription.

Exercise prescription is an emerging concept that is becoming increasingly popular in the field of healthcare. A growing number of individuals who suffer from various health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, depression, cancer, heart diseases, and osteoarthritis, are now being provided with exercise prescriptions by their healthcare providers. Additionally, fitness and rehabilitation professionals also create exercise prescriptions for their clients or patients. Generally, most exercise prescriptions will include the following:

  • The type of activities to engage in, for instance, walking, jogging, cycling etc.
  • Specific workloads such as walking or jogging speed
  • Targets, e.g., heart rate
  • Duration and exercise frequency
  • Precautions to be taken.

Developing a lifestyle of physical activity has many benefits. Findings from several studies have linked physical activity to health and longevity. Below are some factors that have made exercise prescription gain popularity.

how exercise prescription has gained popularity

Chronic Diseases

The percentage of adults in America with one chronic disease is 60%. In contrast, 40% have more than two chronic conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Cumulatively, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death in America. Engaging in physical activity can significantly enhance the quality of life for those with chronic conditions, aiding in symptom management and overall health improvement. Furthermore, health professionals emphasize that exercise is a crucial factor in decreasing the risk of chronic disease development.

Physical activity plays a crucial role in influencing risk factors associated with chronic diseases. Engaging in regular exercise can effectively lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, consequently decreasing the likelihood of experiencing severe health issues like heart attacks or strokes. Additionally, strength training aids in the development of muscle mass and promotes healthy joints, which can alleviate joint pain commonly experienced by individuals with arthritis. Furthermore, maintaining strong bones and muscles through physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of falls, particularly among older adults.

Physical exercise is advantageous for individuals with diabetes as it aids in managing glucose levels, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and promoting weight loss. Furthermore, the prevalence of obesity is rising among both children and adults worldwide, posing as a chronic condition. Engaging in physical exercise plays a crucial role in combating obesity and mitigating its consequential impacts, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and various other ailments.

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Benefits the Elderly

A study released in March 2017 in the cell metabolism journal revealed that vigorous aerobic exercise has the potential to reverse aging at the cellular level in elderly individuals. The research indicated that engaging in high-intensity aerobic workouts can enhance lung function and boost mitochondrial activity in skeletal muscles.

Elderly individuals experience a decrease in mitochondrial function as they age, resulting in muscle loss and deterioration. Consequently, it is crucial for older adults to engage in regular physical activity, making the prescription of exercise essential.

Stress and Depression

Depression is on the rise and remains a significant contributor to illness and death worldwide. Typically, depression is managed through a combination of antidepressant medication and therapy. When feeling depressed or overwhelmed, engaging in physical exercise may be the least of your concerns. Nevertheless, an increasing number of individuals and healthcare professionals are integrating physical activity into depression treatment. Engaging in regular exercise can enhance your emotional state, alleviate stress, and mitigate depression symptoms. By diverting your attention away from stressors, exercise helps to prevent depressive thoughts from consuming your mind.

Engaging in a well-organized workout regimen can facilitate the release of endorphins in your body. These endorphins, known as feel-good brain chemicals, have the ability to enhance your overall sense of well-being. Additionally, participating in physical activities encourages you to venture outdoors and engage with others, effectively reducing levels of stress and depression.

exercise prescription

Pregnant Women

Research into the impacts of physical activity on pregnant women consistently demonstrates numerous advantages for both the mother and the child. Engaging in exercise enhances cardiovascular health, curbs excessive weight gain, and reduces the accumulation of fat during pregnancy. Consequently, labor becomes less strenuous, and the recovery period after childbirth is expedited.

Research conducted on pregnant Hispanic women revealed that engaging in physical activity during the early stages of pregnancy can reduce the likelihood of developing gestational hypertension. Additionally, the unborn baby can experience improved stress management and neurobehavioral development. It is recommended for expectant mothers to adhere to a prescribed exercise regimen throughout their pregnancy.


In the medical field, treatment plans are grounded in evidence. Recent research has highlighted the importance of physical exercise as a beneficial intervention similar to other medical treatments. The value of exercise in maintaining good health is widely acknowledged, resulting in more healthcare providers advocating for exercise as a treatment option for various illnesses. Furthermore, there is a growing emphasis on promoting physical activity among the general population to prevent chronic diseases, which are a major contributor to global mortality rates.

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