Researchers Encourage Exercise Prescriptions for Older Adults

by Joy Keller on Mar 01, 2007

Many older adults are already used to getting at least one prescription when they visit the doctor. Two scientists have been asking what if, in addition to prescribing medications, physicians also prescribed exercise? Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD, a researcher in the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University, and Heather Mernitz, PhD, of the Nutrition and Cancer Biology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, have proposed the idea of helping doctors include exercise recommendations into their routine practice. In the August 1, 2006, issue of American Family Physician (2006; 74 [3], 437–44), McDermott and Mernitz provided guidelines, with the following “FITT-PRO”model: frequency; intensity; type; time; and progression.

According to FITT-PRO principles, exercise prescriptions would include the type of exercise, how often, how hard and for how long. The exercises would progress over time as the patients became more physically fit. McDermott and Mernitz caution that, as with medication prescriptions, these exercise parameters would need to be personalized to suit each patient’s health status and goals. Fitness professionals would be perfectly positioned to ensure that patients followed through on their new exercise programs.

—Ryan Halvorson

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About the Author

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 16 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.