Ontario is in the midst of two major medical crises: The opioid epidemic, and an epidemic of chronic conditions. Both of these epidemics can be mitigated through preventative approaches incorporating physical exercise. Studies have shown that not only does exercise help mitigate and prevent many of the most common chronic conditions, but it can provide relief similar to pharmacological care for non-cancer-related chronic pain. Recent provincial guidelines even recommend it over prescription opioids as a treatment which can relieve pain without leading to a substance addiction.It has never been more clear that Ontario’s health care system must begin to view exercise as a first-line treatment.
Exercise First is the Ontario Kinesiology Association’s call to action. The OKA is calling on Ontario’s leaders to become Exercise First MPPs and carry the message of Exercise First to Queen’s Park.
What makes an Exercise First leader? An Exercise First leader believes in the power of exercise not just as a lifestyle change, but as a first line of treatment. By putting Exercise First, candidates support urging primary care physicians to treat guided, specially-programmed exercise as a prescription. They support expanding access to guided exercise programming, delivered by regulated exercise professionals like Registered Kinesiologists, throughout the health care sector. They support the important role exercise plays in making Ontario Canada’s Healthiest Province.
Putting Exercise First in our health care system means emphasizing the importance of integrating exercise-specific professionals into primary care teams, and providing funding to make that happen. And it means making funding available to add exercise experts to Diabetes Education Teams, allowing them to provide ongoing physical assessments, exercise programming, counseling and follow-up sessions for patients.
Every dollar invested in exercise and good diet can save up to six dollars in the cost of caring for those with chronic conditions. That's why Ontario must put Exercise First!
WHO ARE EXERCISE FIRST CANDIDATES?
This election cycle, OKA is asking candidates to become Exercise First candidates and carry those values with them to Queen's Park.
OKA has asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire, which will be used to evaluate which candidates best match the values of Exercise First. Those candidates who successfully complete the survey and are identified as Exercise First candidates will be acknowledged here on our website.
Candidates: Do you believe exercise should be prioritized as a first-line treatment? Do you think more needs to be done to prevent the widespread use of opioids in Ontario? You could be an Exercise First candidate. Fill out our questionnaire, send it back to us and we'll acknowledge you as an Exercise First candidate!
GET THE MESSAGE OUT
You don't have to be an OKA member to demand Exercise First in Ontario's health care system.
Join the conversation on social media! Share our infographics via Facebook, and on Twitter using hashtag #ExerciseFirst. You can also share and Retweet OKA's social media posts. By taking part in this important debate, you'll be helping spread the word about Exercise First. Ontario can be Canada's Healthiest Province with a little help from physical exercise in the health care system.
Let's get Ontario talking about Exercise First!