Author(s): Elizabeth Pegg Frates, Yasamina McBride, Jonathan Bonnet
A growing body of research indicates that exercise is an effective intervention for depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise as medicine provides an additional treatment tool for mental health professionals. With the initiation of the exercise prescription process, clinicians serve as an important link between physical and mental health. By collaborating with a team of health professionals and the patient, clinicians can successfully encourage patients to increase their physical activity, which will lead to positive mental and physical health changes. Exercise and fun are not always used as synonyms. To start and sustain an exercise routine, the clinician and the patient need to work together to find connections between the two words. The "It′s Fun!" algorithm provides the clinician with a guide to hold exercise counseling sessions that are empowering and fun for both clinician and patient. Taking into account all the essential steps in exercise prescription writing and counseling- the interest level of the patient, a patient′s past exercise history and timeline, the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for disease, favorite activities, unusual ideas for motivation and exercise, and finally negotiating as well as narrowing down the ways forward - the patient will engage in and enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity.