Ross E. Andersen, PhD; Steve N. Blair, PED
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Andersen RE, Blair SN. Encouraging Physical Activity. Ann Intern Med. 1998;128:606. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-128-7-199804010-00035
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(7):606.
We appreciate Dr. McDuffie's and Dr. Malkin's interest in our recent paper. Both have reiterated the importance of being a good role model for patients. We commend Dr. McDuffie on his own commitment to regular vigorous physical activity. He addresses the key point of tailoring and individualizing exercise prescriptions to meet the individual health needs of each patient. Our paper focused on how to help apparently healthy adults adopt a more active lifestyle. However, as Dr. McDuffie notes, patients with musculoskeletal limitations or other medical ailments can also get symptom relief through regular activity.
Dr. Malkin suggests that physicians offer seminars stressing the importance of exercise while dressed in athletic clothing. This may be an effective strategy for some physicians to encourage patients who wish to become more vigorously active. We caution, however, that many sedentary adults without a history of physical activity do not enjoy vigorous activity  and may find this intimidating . Specialty seminars attract a biased group, probably those already predisposed to be physically active. Moreover, we think many sedentary people find that the need to change into athletic clothing and special footwear is a barrier to participation.
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