The American College of Sports Medicine trademarked the term “Exercise is Medicine”, but I thought it was common knowledge. I guess not. Exercise can be a powerful complement to traditional medical intervention and, in many instances, may allow a physician to significantly reduce a patient’s drug dosage or eliminate the need for medicine altogether.
As a new or emerging allied health professional, you may not realize that exercise as medicine is part of a larger, emerging part of the field of fitness and wellness. It’s known as medical fitness and the career opportunities are growing. Most people are familiar with exercise used in a cardiac rehab setting. My own father was able to use exercise as a means to recover from a heart attack back in the days when he was told to lie down, hold still, and do NOT use the stairs.
Exercise is medicine, and the field of medical fitness involves a more integrated approach and usually involves a medical oversight including physicians, nurses, and exercise physiologists. Qualified staff is integral to helping what is often referred to as “special populations”. In other words, people living with chronic disease or who have a more complicated medical history. Plans are individualized and safety is of the utmost importance. Working in this setting also involves the need for a large referral network to other professionals and resources.
More information on job opportunity, professional development and resources can be found by visiting the Medical Fitness Association, American College of Sports Medicine, or the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation websites. You can also visit my job links to start to review various job descriptions and job settings where these types of positions exist.