Doctors writing more prescriptions for physical activity

Prescriptions are no longer just for medications; exercise being prescribed too

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DETROIT – Doctors are writing more prescriptions for exercise for their patients.

Dr. David Frid, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic said exercise prescriptions are more commonplace.

"An exercise prescription uses an exercise treadmill test, or a stress test, 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 Frid.

The prescription can be specific to an individual patient's needs. Frid said patients can work with exercise physiologists to come up with exercises the patient likes to do. He said the exercise is more about getting a patient's heart rate up to a beneficial level and less about how that happens.

Candidates for exercise prescriptions are those who have never exercised before, have questions about exercise, or have had heart trouble.

"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," said Frid.

Frid said this type of prescription can lead to the development of a more active lifestyle.