By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter
Aspetar, the Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, has launched one of the newest disciplines in medicine, ‘Exercise Is Medicine’ (EIM), Gulf Times has learnt.
Aspetar is the only well established centre for EIM in the Middle East and the only approved and licensed one in the region.The centre has treated about 700 patients so far.
“EIM is one of the latest disciplines in medicine. This prescribes how much exercise and what type of exercises people need to do,” said Dr Husam Rezeq, public health specialist, Aspetar in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.
“We call it the FITT principle. It is based upon frequency, intensity, type and time for exercise. Every patient has to undergo 30 minutes of exercise each day for five days a week,” he continued.
Dr Rezeq told that EIM is an initiative of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), launched in 2007 in the United States and practised over 40 countries globally.
He explained: “EIM aims to provide more physically active lifestyle for all patients and make physical assessment part of every patient visit to healthcare clinics just like taking the vital signs of a patient. It takes count of the physical activity of the patients. This will have a direct impact on fighting various diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cholesterol, cancer, anxiety depression and arthritis.”
The official pointed out that the entire concept is new in the entire region.
He elaborated, “So far, we are the only well established centre in the Middle East. There are small institutions working on the concept and distributing some educational materials but we are the only one providing services to the patients. We have the services, clinics and other facilities which others do not have.”
The physician said that Aspetar started working on the concept some two years ago. He recalled, “It took sometime to get all things arranged. We needed to assess the requirement for the physicians and in 2014, we started setting up the facilities.We launched the programme in March 2015 and moved to the present facility in Aspetar in October 2015.”
At present the EIM facility at Aspetar is targeting three diseases - musculoskeletal problems, knee osteoarthritis and foot and ankle problem. This year, diabetes has also been added.
“The concept of EIM at Aspetar is slightly different from the original model. At the original model, the patient consults the physician and according to the diagnosis, patient is referred to a gym. The model at Aspetar is a multi disciplinary approach which is the latest in the field,” noted Dr Rezeq.
“Here the patient has to go through various stages. The physician will assess the patient and then he has to meet the nutritionist and the exercise physiologist. We follow the international guideline of prescribing 150 minutes of exercise every week,” he continued.
“We have a high success rate as many patients who could not even walk, got cured completely. On the contrary, we have also patients who were provided all the facilities but did not stick to the programme and could not progress,” Dr Rezeq added.
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