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Doctor's newest prescription: Exercise

April 23, 2012 1:49:57 PM PDT
The latest prescription to improve your health is not one you fill you fill at the pharmacy, instead, you have to go to the gym.

It's called an Exercise Prescription. It's a specific fitness plan for you, often written by a doctor or an exercise or rehabilitation specialist.

It's ideal for anyone who has never exercised before or if you're obese, have diabetes or you've had breathing problems or heart trouble in the past. Your doctor may suggest a stress test or treadmill test first.

"To really get a sense of how much activity a person can do, how their body and heart responds to exercise, and then using that to show them how much they should be doing," said Dr. David Frid, with Cleveland Clinic.

Every exercise prescription is individualized.

You can work with an exercise physiologist to come up with activities you like to do- so you stick to it.

You can walk one day and go swimming the next.

The prescription spells out how often and how long you should exercise, what your target heart rate should be and precautions you should take depending on your medical conditions.

"With the exercise prescription the exercise specialist will often set up some type of follow-up to make sure they are doing things correctly, that they're getting the benefit and will be available to answer questions and to help troubleshoot," adds Dr. Frid.

If you have health insurance, you have to ask if the cost of that session will be covered or not.

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