National Center Activities During COVID-19

While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has slowed down or halted many segments of our global society, the pandemic has only heightened the importance of maintaining physical fitness to mitigate the potential effects of COVID-19.  During this infectious disease outbreak, the role of Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) in promoting physical activity has never been more vital. EIM national centers have accepted this challenge and launched into action. Read the examples below to learn about the many activities taking place in the EIM Global Network.

Australia Greece Poland
Chile Israel South Africa
Ecuador Japan Spain

EIM Australia

  • Searching stakeholder websites, including state and federal governments, key health organizations, Primary Health Networks (PHN) and Non-Government Organisations, for opportunities to partner around physical activity and approaching these organizations with a list of mutual objectives and identified opportunities to promote EIM through their websites.
  • Updating resources and materials with the latest research evidence (i.e., EIM fact sheets)
  • Promoting EIM Online eLearning opportunities

EIM Chile

  • Disseminating information of physical activity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through social media, podcast and other means of communication
  • Clinica MEDS (the host organization for EIM Chile) has created videos and organized live sessions to promote physical activity in the home setting for individuals of different age ranges, including our special program SENIOR FIT for elderly adults
  • Hosted three webinars on physical activity and health for the Chilean Insurance Association.
  • Updating the guidelines and general recommendations for practicing sports and exercise in outdoors during the coronavirus for Clinica MEDs and the Chilean sports medicine society
  • Widespread dissemination of material from EIM (the Prescription (Rx) for Health series translated into Spanish) and the World Health Organization (WHO) throughout Chile and other Latin American countries
  • Hosted a live session on Instagram with EIM Dominican Republic discussing the risk of being inactive and ways to become active during the pandemic
  • Organizing a series of webinars about physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic with EIM Argentina

EIM Ecuador

  • Working in partnership with the Sports Medicine Society of Ecuador to make a collective recommendations through social media platforms, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, about the importance of physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic through social media avenues
  • Worked with Ecuadorian Secretary of Sports to publish on their website the EIM Rx for Health series on physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Provided information on exercise and COVID-19 to the Ecuadorian Society of Cardiology
  • Supported the World Day of Physical Activity through activities, such as publishing EIM Rx for Health series (Spanish versions) related to the coronavirus
  • Virtual meetings and webinars with medical colleagues to continue spreading the concept of Exercise is Medicine
  • Provided the Ecuadorian Sports Secretariat with a document “Proposal for a Protocol for the Development of Physical Activity in Free Spaces,” to guide reintegration of society after the COVID 19 confinement following the parameters of Exercise is Medicine Global Center.
  • Hosted (April 28th) a video conference with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Sport, and EIM Ecuador, to establish an inter-institutional agreement to support "physical activity" programs throughout Ecuador. The proposal will be that EIM Ecuador serve as the official national "trainers" in prescribing physical activity and exercise

EIM Greece

  • EIM Greece and its academic members, in collaboration with many academic representatives from medicine and exercise science, gave their official support and promoted the publication of “Instructions for safe exercise and physical activity during the pandemic”. This report was published in: both the online and the printed edition of a national newspaper for two consecutive weekends, the two highest-readability websites for education of Greece, and the websites of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and University of Thessaly.
  • These recommendations were also accepted and will be further promoted by the National Public Health Organization (EODY), which is responsible for taking actions against the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece.
  • Translated a Greek version of the EIM Global COVID-19 Rx for Health handout for children which has been published on the website of the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
  • The Greek versions of the EIM Global COVID-19 Rx for Health handouts for Adults and Children have been further promoted via the EIM Greece website and Facebook.
  • Currently recruiting new members to the EIM National Center, capitalizing on a “new wave” of physical activity enthusiasts coming from the realization of the health benefits of physical activity within the “uncomfortable” conditions of this pandemic.

EIM Israel

  • Translated the EIM Rx for Health series on the novel coronavirus to Hebrew and Arabic, adapted them for their local context, and disseminated the materials throughout the country
  • Wrote a letter to the CEO of the Ministry of Health explaining the importance of physical activity and advocating for people to be able to exercise in the open air individually or pairs (if from the same house), keeping distance from other people.
  • Conducted an interview with the Jerusalem Post where EIM got a very nice exposure
  • Supervise medical students in encourage elderly to do physical activity through either virtual Zoom sessions or existing YouTube links

EIM Japan

  • EIM Japan is taking to promote physical activity during this pandemic based on the following two strategies creating original video content and developing an online physical activity delivery system.
  • The online video content consists of physical activity videos for different populations. For example, this original video is a yoga program for individuals with diabetes.
  • The online delivery system linking health care providers and patients to physical activity programs, via a mobile app, is scheduled to start operation in May 2020.

EIM Poland

  • From March 18th to April 30th, provided daily morning encouragement to be physically active during the breakfast program of Polish public television that reaches approximately 800,000 people daily.
  • Working on a project with the Polish National Health Fund, the only public health insurer in Poland that provides all Poles with health insurance. As part of this project, they prepared sixteen 15-minute films with ideas for being active for everyone from children to the elderly. The films are published on the YouTube channel of the National Health Fund (NFZ Academy) and on the EIM Poland YouTube channel. The first film currently has more than 43 thousand viewing, with viewership is constantly growing.
  • Translated ACSM and EIM recommendations on physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic and made them available on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and on the EIM Poland website.
  • Continually informing the public about the benefits of physical activity through social media. Posts on Facebook each reach approximately 10,000 individuals. The greatest interest in the last two weeks was generated by the translated EIM materials.
  • On April 18th, gave a lecture at an online conference for the Polish Society for Lifestyle Medicine on the influence of physical activity on the immune system that was attended by 350 people, followed by a lively question and answer session.
  • Completing numerous interviews with the Polish media – radio and newspapers. A recent interview in Newsweek was on the impact of physical activity on the immune system, a very trendy topic in Poland.
  • On April 22nd, EIM Poland leadership hosted a Facebook live session about sedentary lifestyle and how to encourage people to get up from behind their desk and be active.
  • On May 5th, hosted a webinar in partnership with Prof. Łukasz MaÅ‚ek, a cardiologist and elite athlete, on physical activity during the coronavirus pandemic. The webinar focused on the impact of physical activity on chronic diseases, especially heart disease, and how to maintain recommended levels of physical activity during the lockdown.
  • Prepared material for the website of the National health Fund describing physical activity and its impact on the development of chronic diseases and recommendations on how to exercise during a pandemic.

EIM South Africa

  • Partnered with Penta Systems (Technogym distributor SA) to offer free Technogym exercise mobile application (T-Wellness) to all: Wits University faculty and staff on the Health Sciences campus, gym members at Wits University, Medical Wellness Exercise Faculty (at the Centre of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine), as well as all South African Sports Medicine (SASMA) members. The mobile application has a different workout of the day, across 3 levels of intensity, as well as live, virtual exercise classes.
  • Offered the Technogym MyWellness mobile application to all health and fitness professionals working in exercise facilities that are now closed, free for 3 months, so that they can continue training their clients remotely. We trained these professionals on the platform to allow to assign and monitor exercise sessions using this platform. Over 2000 trainers are now using this platform throughout South Africa.
  • Provided this mobile application to companies so that they could offer these exercise opportunities to their employees with customized content for each company.

EIM Spain

  • Translated and adapted the EIM Prescription for Health guide for adults and children. This information was then disseminated to multiple Spanish health professional organizations including:
    • Asociación Española de Pediatría (AEP; the Spanish Pediatric Association), consisting of approximately 9,000 pediatricians
    • La Sociedad Española de Médicos de Atención Primaria (SEMERGEN; the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians) consisting of approximately 6,000 members
    • Asociación de enfermeras de nutrición y dietética (the Association of Dietetic and Nutrition Nurses)
  • Disseminated two research surveys, one national (https://covid19.ehu.es) and other international (https://goethe.link/ASAP) to analyze the effect of the confinement on physical activity and health
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