Evaluation of Patients' Physical Activity Habits

First Posted: Oct 14, 2013 11:33 PM EDT

The amount of physical activity we add to our daily routine says a lot about our emotional and physical well-being.

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that doctors should evaluation physical activity habits as part of routine checks for blood pressure and other risk factors can could increase one's potential for cardiovascular disease.

"Most health-care providers have not routinely assessed physical activity levels among their patients because they have not had the right tools," said Scott Strath, Ph.D., lead author of the statement and associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's College of Health Sciences, via a press release. "Yet, physical inactivity is about as bad for you as smoking."

The new statement includes a "decision matrix" to help providers select the most appropriate evaluation method for their patients, including low-cost or no-cost options, such as questionnaires that patients complete when they arrive for their appointment, according to background information from the study. 

Health officials discuss an exercise checkup that would cover types, frequency, duration and intensity of physical activity at work, home and during leisure time, according to a statement, via the release.

Researchers note that doctors should also counsel patients on how to incorporate more exercise into their daily lives.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week or more, or at least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week or more. You should also do moderate- to high-intensity muscle strengthening at least two days a week.

More information regarding the study can be found via the journal Circulation

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