What started out as a class project is now changing the way doctors issue exercise prescriptions.
Exercise-Rx is a computerized exercise prescription program developed by Erica Pascoal and Aaron Gazendam during their time in KNPE 463, an undergraduate course in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. The program was created in collaboration with the Queen’s-established Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative and is now used daily by the Loyalist Family Health Team in Amherstview.
Exercise-Rx aims to increase physical activity amongst patients in Kingston and Amherstview primarily through discussions and prescriptions between doctors and their patients.
Patients with diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could all receive prescriptions for exercise, along with their medication prescription. For example, a patient with type 2 diabetes might find him or herself with a two-part exercise prescription that could include: aerobic training four days per week and two days per week of strength training, adding up to 150 minutes of activity per week as per the recommended Canadian physical activity guidelines.
“All doctors know that physical activity is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Ms. Pascoal, Artsci’14, now a medical student at the University of Toronto. “We’ll be collecting data each year to analyze the results of this program, and checking to see if physical activity is affecting blood glucose levels in patients.”