Prescribing Exercise as Medicine for Those 50 and Older

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Prescribing Exercise as Medicine for Those 50 and Older

By Emily Szink. CREATED Jan 13, 2014

The latest preventative medicine being prescribed to those 50 and older doesn't come in a pill, doctors are actually prescribing exercise as medicine. 

Studies show that exercise can prevent and even treat dozens of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  Many in the Metro agree, exercise is some of the best medicine.

“I wanted strength, balance and flexibility for my 80’s, because I see so many women who have lost so much muscle, so much strength and they fall and their balance is off and I thought I’d do as much as I can do to prevent that I’ll do,” said Nancy McCormick who enjoys working out at UNMC’s Engage Wellness Center.

Nancy McCormick has always lived a healthy lifestyle; she spent a good chunk of her adult life as a distance runner.  Nancy told herself that she wasn’t going to let the aging process slow her down.  She now enjoys Tai Chi, toning classes and other group fitness classes at UNMC’s Engage Wellness Center.  Nancy isn’t the only one working out here on the regular, many Metro area doctors are now prescribing their 50 and older patients exercise as medicine.  

“Doctors can refer their patients for two free weeks and we do a functional fitness assessment, a balance assessment and then based on those assessment results and health history of the patients, we create an individualized program for that patient,” said the Wellness Manager at UNMC’s Engage Wellness Center, Jeannie Hannan, PhD.

Dorothy Daeges never worked out a day in her life before her doctor prescribed her to the Exercise is Medicine program, now you can’t keep her out of the gym. 

“I usually come around 9:00, 9:30 and I’m here, it depends what machines are occupied and then I have to wait and sometimes it’s one o clock,” said Exercise is Medicine patient Dorothy Daeges. 

And as the results prove, exercise is truly medicine. 

“Yes, yes very definitely my balance is a lot better and now I’m more flexible,” said Daeges. 

“Well I haven’t had cold in three years, which says something about my immune system. And I don’t take any medicine besides vitamins.  You know, exercise works, at least it has for me,” said McCormick. 

For more information on the Exercise is Medicine program call (402) 552-7210 or email engage@unmc. edu.