Prescribing and dosing exercise in primary care.Aust J Gen Pract. 2020 04; 49(4):182-186.AJ
Exercise prescription, while not traditionally part of the medical school curriculum or many advanced post-graduate training programs, is rapidly becoming an essential skill in primary care. Its importance relates to exercise being an effective evidence-based intervention for osteoarthritis, back pain, tendinopathy, some cancers, depression, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The aim of this article is to describe the basic principles of exercise prescription in the context of a primary care medical consultation, assisting general practitioners to manage cases without the need for referral. Understanding the basic principles is important, but it should not be presumed that exercise prescription is always straightforward.
A good mantra for exercise prescription is 'move, monitor, modify'. Failure of basic exercise prescription does not necessarily mean that procedural or medication treatment is required, but instead second-line exercise prescription may be indicated. Although referral to an exercise-based practitioner is a useful option, exercise prescription should become embedded as part of primary care medical practice because of its reported effectiveness and minimal side effects when appropriately implemented.