Doctors prescribe exercise

December 12, 2008 2:50:06 PM PST
What will it take to get Americans up and moving? New research finds that "doctor's orders" may do the trick. According to a study in the British Medical Journal Online, receiving a written prescription for exercise can help people become more active.

Researchers recruited 1,000 women who were self-admitted couch potatoes. Half received instructions ordering them to exercise 150 minutes per week. Online counselors helped them determine what might work best for them. After one year, 43 percent of those with the prescription were exercising 30 minutes a day, five days per week.

The effort paid off. Women who exercised reported better physical function and mental health.