Researchers Question the Efficiency of Exercise Referral System

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Latest research has raised questions regarding the efficiency of the existing system of exercise referrals. Exercise has been recognized as one of the most effective ways of obtaining enhanced health benefits. However, the referral system that is currently in existence had been questioned regarding efficiency. The study has also suggested that better system of referrals that aim at improving present schemes should be employed in order to help people gain better benefits. The research has been carried out by researchers of Peninsula college of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Brunel and University of Exeter on the commissioning of NIHR Health Technology Assessment Program.

The study brought to light that there was not much evidence that supported the effectiveness of exercise referral scheme. These schemes are meant to enhance physical activity and improve long term health benefits to people who lead a largely sedentary life. The study says although the concept behind exercise referral system is profound, new methods have to be found in order to make it cost effective and attract more people to take up exercise in their lives.

Some of the most common health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, cholesterol and a number of kinds of cancers can be avoided by leading a healthy life. In addition to providing physical benefits, exercise also presents a number of psychological and emotional benefits such as ability to handle stress and keep problems like depression and anxiety away. As per the national recommendation, adults should exercise for at least half an hour every day for at least five days a week in order to be physically and mentally healthy.

Exercise referral programs were started in the early 1990s. it was started as a way of providing health benefits to people by referring them to local gyms and fitness centers. Doctors and general practitioners followed the practice in order to keep their patients healthier. Exercise specialists or fitness experts present in these centers helped in improving health of patients. The present referral system was brought under scrutiny in 2006 by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the above mentioned universities were commissioned to take up the study.

It was found that the referral program did not do much good to patients. Furthermore, the evidence available is rather sparse. Hence, researchers who took up the present study, although they do not question the effectiveness of the including exercise as a form of treatment, said that a the system needs to be revamped in order to provide high health benefits.