Doctors prescribe exercise to help patients get well - FOX Carolina 21

Doctors prescribe exercise to help patients get well

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Doctors prescribe exercise for Exercise is Medicine  Greenville program. (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 18, 2016) Doctors prescribe exercise for Exercise is Medicine Greenville program. (FOX Carolina/ Oct. 18, 2016)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

On Tuesday, class started at noon for Robin Mathis.

"It's something I enjoy doing," she said.

She's learning about managing stress and how to check her blood pressure. It's all part of a major goal she's working on.

"Get the weight off," Mathis said.

Her doctor wrote her a prescription to exercise and sent her to the Caine Halter YMCA in Greenville to do it.

"I feel better about myself when I get through," Mathis said.

She and others are part of the Exercise is Medicine Greenville program.

"Exercise is medicine," Paulo Passini said. He's a wellness coach at the YMCA and works with the program.

"When a doctor prescribes medication, it's not really solving the problem," Passini said.

Patients with chronic diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and weight gain may qualify for the program.

"They do a fitness assessment right at the beginning and then they exercise with you, the learn what they need to eat," Passini said.

The program is a partnership with the Greenville Health System, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, the YMCA of Greenville, and the American College of Sports and Medicine.

"The initial step is to actually make lifestyle modifications," Dr. Bobby Masocol said.

He calls the program innovative.

"This is the first time where we've had support being able to send a patient to a gym- get exercise under supervision," Masocol said.

He says a patient's progress is then tracked by electronic medical records and through research provided by their partners.

"Some of the major things that lead to people dying early were all related to physical inactivity," Masocol said.

And although it's a new form of medicine for Mathis, she's taking it one dose at at time.

Doctors say the program is working and they've been able to take patients off medicine because of it. The 12-week program is $199 and some patients may qualify for scholarships.

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