Health | The 50 Zone Magazine : Mens Information On Wellness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Women, Style And Fashion - Part 2



Physical Activity and Health – Part I

by Bob Gurney

In the previous article presented in ‘the 50 zone’, health providers in sports sciences and medicine were identified and described. In this article, we review challenges and solutions for health care professionals addressing strategies of physical activity in the management of patients.

The increasing burden of chronic disease places greater demands on Health Care Providers to develop and implement strategies to manage lifestyle risk factors presented by their patients. Physical activity has been identified as a prescription for managing health risk factors, however effective prescriptions and exercise management strategies are absent in rural health care. The literature has been extensive over the past few decades, claiming that prescribed physical activity has been effective in managing patients with risk factors of poor health and chronic disease. The literature and practices of exercise strategies are supportive in managing patients at risk, yet neglect the patients who would benefit from exercise/physical activity prescriptions as preventative measures prior to symptoms prompting such intervention.

Primary care may benefit from further counselling, support systems and collaboration with exercise specialists. General Practitioners, (Eley and Eley, 2009) report that there are limited resources available in rural Queensland (Australia), to support family physicians in developing exercise/physical activity prescriptions and counselling for patients. These same physicians recommend formalization of referral pathways and follow-up could be of valuable assistance to rural medical doctors in providing their patients with effective exercise/physical activity prescriptions and counselling.

Buffart and colleagues (2009) describe the literature reporting the importance of exercise and physical activity. Health benefits include a lower risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, overweight, some forms of cancer, depression and many other factors that improve quality of life. Physical inactivity and a lack of exercise are recognized as a leading contributor to disease. Medical practices should be an important setting for promoting physical activity, for several reasons. First, health professionals can reach a large population because the majority of people visit a health professional at least once a year. Second, patients have identified health professionals as a credible source of information and their abilities to provide patients with referrals to address their health concerns, issues and interests. Third, health care professionals usually have a long lasting relationship with their patients, which enable them to offer long-term health management and follow-up. Fourth, a range of intervention studies and numerous literature reviews have reported that health care provider’s recommendations of patient referrals to exercise/physical activity specialists can increase the adoption of exercise by patients. The American College of Preventative Medicine takes the position that primary care health should include physical activity counseling into routine patient visits.

Aittasalo (2008) describes the attitudes of health care professionals towards exercise/physical activity counseling as being positive, and the importance of exercise/physical activity for long-term health is well acknowledged in the literature. However, the practice of providing exercise/physical activity counseling is generally low among physicians. Physicians that provide exercise/physical activity counseling neglect the use of formalized instruments, written materials, and referrals are seldom practiced. Physician counseling also lacks patient-centeredness, which is an important factor from the effectiveness point of view. The most frequently indicated barrier for not promoting exercise/physical activity to patients has been reported by physicians, indicating the lack of time. Other barriers have included the physician’s lack of skills, confidence and knowledge in the field of exercise/physical activity prescriptions and counseling. The literature acknowledges that to effectively promote and implement exercise/physical activity through the medical professions, support through pathways of patient referrals to exercise specialists is critical to the success.


Aittasalo, M. (2008). Physical activity counseling in primary health care.

Scand J Med Sci Sports: 18: 261-262.

Buffart, L.M, et al (2009). General practitioners’ perceptions and practices of physical activity

Counseling: changes over the past 10 years. Br J Sports Med: 43: 1149-1153.

Eley, D. and Eley, R. (2009). How do rural GPs manage their inactive and overweight patients? A pilot study of rural GPs in Queensland. Australian Family Physician. Vol. 38, No. 9, September.

Author: Bob Gurney

Professions of the Sports Medicine Team

by Bob Gurney

As a follow-up to the previous article, indicating the need to identify health care professionals in the field of sports medicine, the following questions are explored:

  1. What are the professions in health care services that have evolved into specializations and constitute the broad field of sports medicine?
  2. How are these professions defined?
  3. How do I find out more about these professions?

Common knowledge found in textbooks of sports medicine, such as Prentice (2006) provide a brief overview of sports medicine and roles the professions play in their contribution to the field of sports medicine. Sports medicine as a concept is presented in the context of various professions contributing to the health and care of sports enthusiasts, and athletes. Although some may argue that one or more particular profession(s) dominate in the practices of sports medicine, the current textbook literature clearly indicates that each profession plays an important role in the field of sports medicine. The medical doctors are indicated as the primary health care providers (Prentice, 2006) in treating injuries of sporting enthusiasts and athletes.

Specialty fields of medicine (family medicine and orthopaedists) and physical therapy are well established historically, in the treating of sports related injuries. In the second half of the twentieth century traditional professions and new fields of allied health emerged through specialized training programs and became established in the team of professions working in sports medicine (Prentice, 2006). Medical doctors expanded their specializations into a new field of ‘sports physician’, where one must complete the requirements of post graduate training in this field. The profession of physiotherapy expanded to sports physiotherapy (Prentice, 2006) which involves the development and supervision of physical therapy rehabilitation for the injured athlete. Both the medical and physiotherapy practices are viewed historically as the traditional professions that have provided care and management of the injured athlete. Podiatry evolved into sports podiatry, as a specialized field, dealing with the study and care of foot injuries. Exercise and sports science is a field that emerged in the 1970s and provides athletes with training and conditioning techniques specific to the performance demands of a sport. Psychology expanded its specialty areas to sports psychology and provides advice on matters related to mental preparation for sport performance and the psychological aspects of the rehabilitation process for the athlete. Dieticians expanded their knowledge sets into sports nutrition and provide consulting advice for dietary programs that are geared to the needs of persons in a particular sport or physical activity.

This general knowledge of understanding professions, as described above, informs us that differences exist between the traditional professions of health sciences, and modern emerging professions in the field of sports medicine. To develop a better understanding of these professions a list of professional associations and web sites are indicated below. I have selected professional groups in Australia for two reasons. Firstly, my research work involved these groups and, secondly the information provided by these professional groups is both comprehensive and informative.

Australasian Association for Podiatric Sports

Australasian College of Sports Physicians:

APA – Sports Physiotherapy Australia:

APS College of Sports Psychologists:

Exercise and Sports Science Australia:

Sports Dietitians Australia:

Sports Doctors Australia:


Prentice, W.E. (2006). Arnheim’s Principles of Athletic Training. (12th ed). Toronto. ON: McGraw Hill.

Author: Bob Gurney

What’s Driving You

to think and act on health opportunities for men in the 50+ age group?

by Bob Gurney

Something must have stimulated you to come to this website and seek answers to questions, and/or become aware of questions that need to be asked. You are over 50 years of age and have many questions concerning personal health and opportunities of physical activity. Although this article is limited in being able to address all your questions – here are a few questions that you may need answers to …

1.   Now that I am over 50 years of age, what health issues should I be concerned about – personal status and in terms of common health concerns connected to this age group?

2.  How valid is the health information being disseminated through the traditional media and new social media?

3.  How do I find legitimate resources to guide me through activities of good health?

4.  The health literature and promotions are overwhelming … information overload – how do I determine which path to take?

The Game Plan to addressing the above questions …

1.   Start with completing the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) that you can download free and print ( Also, download (free) and print the PARmedX form at the same URL site as above.

2.  Make an appointment to see your medical doctor. Show your doctor your completed PAR-Q and if advised, work collaboratively with your doctor to complete the PARmedX form. Ask questions concerning your current health and what health assessments need to be undertaken – request referrals to professionals that can provide the needed assessments.  This information will give you a good foundation to building your health – physical activity plan.

3.  Now you can start to build your health – physical activity resource team. Who do you need on your team? Your medical doctor (GP) is best to be the manager of your team, supported by Dietitian or Sports Nutritionist, Physiotherapist, Personal Trainer/Exercise Physiologist. There may be others that your Physician recommends.

4.  Other resources include searching for sport health professionals and resources through membership can be found within the Sports Medicine Council of Alberta (

Author: Bob Gurney



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