Patients in Britain are receiving “prescriptions” for exercise.
“A “prescription” for exercise typically provides the patient with twenty – four weeks of treatment. An exercise professional assesses the patient’s fitness and develops an appropriate “activity plan,” with the patient then given discounted or free access to the collaborativeing YMCA or gym. Patients work out on exercise machines, swim. and take various exercises classes. In addition , many exercise referral schemes provide access to “green gyms.” The outdoor programs may involve group walks, outdoor stretching classes, and volunteer environmental work (managing local woodlands, improving footpaths, creating community gardens, etc). Throughout the six months of treatment, the exercise professional monitors the patient’s health and progress.
As might be expected, patients have found exercise on-prescription- treatment to be quite helpful. They told the Mental Health Foundation that exercise allowed them to “take control of their recovery” and stop thinking of themselves as “victims” of a disease. Their confidence and self esteem increased, they felt calmer and more energetic. Treatment was now focused on their ” health,” rather than on their ” illness.”
“The fathers of medicine wouldn’t be surprised about what we are doing, ” McCulloch said. They would say, “Hasn’t science gone any further? Diet and exercise? This is what is new? If they could travel in a time machine, they would think we were mad, because people have been saying these things for thousands of years..”
SOURCES: Whitaker R. (2010, 2015) Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.. New York. Crown. pg.347.
Smith H. (2017) Believing is Seeing: 15 Ways to Leave the Prison of Depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. (Ch.6: Keep physically fit.)
Smith, H. (2018) I’ll Do It When I Feel Better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.