Pharmacies are visited on a daily basis by customers who do not get enough exercise to stay healthy, who seldom or never use sports sector services, and who would benefit from exercise in terms of the therapeutic control and monitoring of their illnesses. Pharmacies are reliable and competent places to get information about physical activity in support of pharmacotherapy, while also providing information about local sports and exercise services.
The ‘Exerciser’s Pharmacy’ concept is an operating model implemented in cooperation between the Fit for Life (KKI) program, the Organisation for Respiratory Health, the Association of Finnish Pharmacies and regional sports organisations. Through their own experience, expertise and activities, the concept partners support the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity in the pharmacy sector.
The purpose of the concept is to include health-enhancing physical activity as part of pharmacies’ public health programmes, while also bringing health-enhancing physical activity in as part of everyday pharmacy operations and customer counselling. The concept also aims to introduce physical activity as an added value to existing pharmacy services.
The Exerciser’s Pharmacy is one of the national measures of physical activity counselling provided as part of the Fit for Life Program. The aim is for pharmacies to cooperate as strong partners in health promotion and health-enhancing physical activity, forming part of the service chain of municipal health and physical activity counselling.
The Exerciser’s Pharmacy is an operating method where pharmacies include health-enhancing physical activity in their services by:
- providing customers with motivation towards and information about physical exercise in addition to medicines;
- distributing information about local exercise and lifestyle groups;
- providing exercise and weight-control material free of charge;
- dispensing ‘exercise as medicine’ relevant to specific illnesses;
- providing physical activity and lifestyle counselling for customers with diabetes and respiratory diseases;
organising exercise events and test days in cooperation with local partners involved in sports and health-related activities.
There are about 130 Exerciser’s Pharmacies, extensively located throughout Finland. The Exerciser’s Pharmacy concept is part of the expert services provided by member pharmacies of the Association of Finnish Pharmacies.
The Exerciser’s Pharmacy concept benefits different parties
Bringing up the topic of physical activity provides a pharmacy with an additional service that diversifies the work of pharmacy staff and increases the visibility of the pharmacy. The Exerciser’s Pharmacy concept consolidates cooperation between pharmacies and other local parties. Pharmacies organise joint campaigns, drives, events and test days in cooperation with regional sports organisations, municipal health and sports services and sports clubs. Partners also include private gyms and fitness centres.
The Exerciser’s Pharmacy benefits several different parties as follows:
- Pharmacy customers receive diverse health information, as well as information on local sports and exercise activities.
- Local authorities (municipal sports and health services) can partner with pharmacies to provide information about sports and exercise activities, groups and physical activity counselling.
- Pharmacies can use health-enhancing physical activity as an added value in their own service provision, allowing them to stand out from competition and increase their customer base. The concept provides a new type of opportunity for cooperation with local partners.
- Local associations and clubs can make their sports and exercise activities visible in cooperation with pharmacies.
Publication about the Exerciser’s Pharmacy (in Finnish): Liikkujan Apteekki terveysliikuntaa edistämässä (‘The Exerciser’s Pharmacy promoting health-enhancing physical activity’)
Inquiries: Sari Kivimäki, Field Manager