Rich New Toolset Can Help You Get Arthritis Patients Moving

November 17, 2011

A wealth of data shows that exercise improves arthritis. But how can a busy primary care doctor make this prescription work? A new public-private campaign is giving you the tools.

Nearly everyone must know that exercise is crucial for healthy aging, and no less important for reducing pain in the joints. The challenge for physicians is motivating older people to start moving, and giving them the right instructions.

A new campaign headed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) takes that challenge seriously. It offers you and your patients all the trustworthy help you need for a sensible and successful exercise program designed for older Americans.

The campaign arose because, despite ample proof of the benefits of exercise, most older Americans are inactive during their leisure time (70% of people between ages 45 and 64, and 75% or more over age 65). Concerned citizens themselves also prompted a response: Older adults have been contacting the NIA for guidance on how to exercise.

This is it.

The focus of the new effort is a website called Go4Life (http://go4life.niapublications.org/). Sponsored by 12 US government agencies and 29 national private and nonprofit organizations, the website supplies many tools to help busy doctors reinforce the importance of exercise, including:

♦  Printable tip sheets on how you and your staff can motivate patients to exercise
♦  Articles on exercise to include in your practice website or distribute in the office
♦  A video for your waiting room about why and how to get started

For patients themselves, the website goes well beyond mere reading matter to offer videos of exercises, online interactive tools such as workout diaries, social media features such as polls and shared stories, and (as of early 2013) an online virtual coach.

Many of the materials are available in Spanish as well as English.