In 2007, the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine co-launched a health initiative called “Exercise is Medicine”. It soon became a multinational collaboration, currently involving 43 national centres across the globe. Moreover, the slogan “exercise is medicine” has quickly spread outside healthcare settings and has become a popular discourse surrounding exercise. In recent years, however, some critical exercise scientists have started to ask whether the medical model of exercise really makes it an attractive and positive approach for promoting exercise to people. In this symposium, we will hear the views of leading researchers in physiology, biomechanics, sport medicine, and sport and exercise psychology. The big question is: how should (or should not) scientific knowledge be transferred to the practice of exercise promotion?