Strategies for promoting physical activity in clinical practice

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Jan-Feb 2015;57(4):375-86. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.003. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


The time has come for healthcare systems to take an active role in the promotion of physical activity (PA). The connection between PA and health has been clearly established and exercise should be viewed as a cost effective medication that is universally prescribed as a first line treatment for virtually every chronic disease. While there are potential risks associated with exercise, these can be minimized with a proper approach and are far outweighed by the benefits. Key to promoting PA in the clinical setting is the use of a PA Vital Sign in which every patient's exercise habits are assessed and recorded in their medical record. Those not meeting the recommended 150min per week of moderate intensity PA should be encouraged to increase their PA levels with a proper exercise prescription. We can improve compliance by assessing our patient's barriers to being more active and employing new and evolving technology like accelerometers and smart phones applications, along with various websites and programs that have proven efficacy.

Keywords: ACSM; AMA; AMI; American College of Sports Medicine; American Medical Association; BMI; CHD; CRF; CV; CVD; CVMRI; EBW!; EHR; EIM; EVS; Every Body Walk; Exercise; HCS; Health and wellness; LWM CPM; Lifestyle; Lifestyle and Weight Management Care Process Model; METs; NCD; PA; PAVS; PCP; Physical Activity Vital Sign; Physical inactivity; SCD; T2D; U.S; United States; WHO; WWAD; Walk with a Doc; World Health Organization; acute myocardial infarction; body mass index; cardiorespiratory fitness; cardiovascular; cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging; coronary heart disease; electronic health record; exercise is medicine; exercise vital sign; healthcare system; metabolic equivalents; non-communicable disease; physical activity; primary care provider; sudden cardiac death; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Control / methods
  • Chronic Disease* / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease* / therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Exercise Therapy / psychology
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Preventive Health Services* / methods
  • Preventive Health Services* / standards
  • Quality Improvement
  • Risk Adjustment*
  • Risk Assessment