Orthopaedic surgeon William Cottrell, M.D. of Orthopaedic Associates of West Florida says doctors need to prescribe exercise for their patients. The avid runner, and six time participant in the Boston Marathon, Dr. Cottrell sees the benefits of physical exercise to his own health. Yet fewer than one in four American adults exercises enough to reap those benefits, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. Dr. Cottrell considers it a physician’s responsibility to help change that.

Prescription to Exercise

William Cottrell, M.D. spends his days mending injured knees and shoulders. He understands all too well the importance of getting his patients up and moving again. That’s because when Dr. Cottrell isn’t in the operating room, you can often find him pounding the pavement. He is an avid runner, and has completed the Boston Marathon six times, including in 2014, a year after the tragic bombings that shocked the nation.

“There was really a different spirit that year. I returned with tens of thousands of other runners. It was the most triumphant and emotional event, with countless spectators, including families with small children, cheering everyone along the race course despite a cold and rainy day. ‘Boston Strong’ was the pervasive emotion, says Dr. Cottrell, a board-certified surgeon with Orthopaedic Associates of West Florida.

Racing has not only helped Dr. Cottrell achieve personal goals, it has also changed his career as a physician, by helping him better understand his patients and their needs.

“Regularly exercising gives me insight into just how important it is for our health, and for the health of my patients. That doesn’t mean that I’m encouraging each of them to go out and run a marathon. However, I do try to enforce that low-impact activity, and exercise should be a part of every patient’s daily routine.”

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