“Physical activity is a drug that deserves first place”

Laura is 59 years old. Supported at Rennes University Hospital for Renal Failure, she completed an eight-week modified exercise program (APA) at the end of 2021, with two weekly sessions. She is excited: This support, adapted to my abilities, made me feel lighter, especially mentally, which is important when you suffer from a chronic illness.

Cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteo-articular pathologies, depression… The virtues of exercise are well established. A collective expertise from Inserm, from 2019, titled Physical activity, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases makes the full inventory in 800 pages.

Also read: Prescription sports, how does it work?

Physical activity is a medicine that deserves first place, emphasizes Pr François Carré, cardiologist and sports physician at the University Hospital of Rennes, and co-signatory of the expertise. This is precisely the purpose of the Sports Prescription Act, which makes exercise a form of therapy comparable to medication.

So, given the innumerable benefits of sports, have the medical profession and patients converted, like Laure, who now follows her program alone?

A dynamic whole in motion

“This law has made it possible to move the lines, says Professor Martine Duclos, chief of the sports medicine division at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital. Initially, this device was reserved for people with a long-term illness, but in practice it was spontaneously extended to chronic diseases and/or risk factors, such as hypertension or obesity. †

However, Professor Carré regrets the lack of training of doctors on the methods of prescribing, which explains the insufficient participation of the medical profession, and the almost total lack of care, which is a major obstacle for patients

Experiments are underway that are funded by the National Health Insurance and are intended to assess the three-year efficiency of multidisciplinary care, including APA, for chronic diseases.

While we may be waiting for general financing, we remember the creation on the whole territory of Maisons sport santé: 500 are planned. The dynamism is definitely there!

Also read: In Brittany, sports reimbursed by social security?

“I realized it was vital”

Jannick, 57, has severe liver fibrosis. She attended the sports and health program at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital for three months. In the beginning I had to motivate myself. And when the lessons were over, I went there with joy. The educators were benevolent, I never felt ridiculous. I even discovered that I had resources. Ultimately, it makes us love each other. Today I have not become an athlete, but I do not intend to stop physical activity because I realized it was vital. And I have more oomph, more drive.

For her part, Laura (read above) had a heart attack in 2005.” No doctor at the time, or even after that, suggested that I do physical activity. It needs to be spread more widely. It’s not about doing phenomenal things. Moving carefully is within everyone’s reach. Thanks to the movements I have learned with the arms and legs, I feel better in my body, I have less pain in my back and shoulders. It helps to be positive and move forward.

Prescription Sport: ‘Physical activity is a drug that deserves first place’