I’ll never forget the day I sat through a lecture about exercise.

‘If you could take a pill that would help you lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, lose weight and maintain that weight loss, control your blood sugars, lower your risk of certain cancers, improve your mood, anxiety, and depression…[he seriously talked for 5 minutes]…would you take it?’

Exercise? Yes, EXERCISE is that pill! At no cost, you can improve your overall health and reap the benefits with a little bit of exercise. And, if exercise were really that simple, that convenient, and for some, that glorious we’d all be doing it. Unfortunately, nearly half of us aren’t meeting the physical activity recommendations for Americans (150 minutes of moderate-intensity OR 75-minutes of vigorous intensity OR a combination of both). That’s 150-minutes for health benefits, and nearly double that to lose and maintain weight!

But, even more important for us to remember is this: Exercise is a modifiable risk factor, meaning, we have the power to change our sedentary behavior, unlike genetics.

In fact, it’s as important as healthy eating and smoking cessation. These three modifiable risk factors contribute to four major conditions: Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, and Diabetes. And, these four conditions cause 50% of deaths!  Yes, we are dying because we aren’t changing our behaviors!

I don’t think I’m really telling you anything you don’t already know. But, perhaps having a fresh start with new resources in 2018 will help change your behaviors and get you on the path to a life-long passion for physical activity.

Now a little more about me. Two years ago, I left a position where I had the privilege of writing policy for both exercise and weight management for the federal government. It was such a cool job – to be able to impact our nation’s Veterans may have been the highlight of my professional career. But, how could I translate my national experience to my community?

So, here I am, leading the charge to change Raleigh’s activity level and improve overall health!

The Physician-Referred Exercise Program (p.r.e.p.®) launched in February 2017. The program introduces patients to exercise while working with medical fitness professionals twice per week in a small group setting. The p.r.e.p.® coordinator, Susan, assess the patient’s medical and health history and their referring provider’s goals. She works with the patient to develop a plan for success. Unlike any other “exercise programs,” p.r.e.p.® takes down all the barriers. We believe in educating the individual on the importance of exercise and nutrition, while supporting them on their journey to find the activities that are suitable and enjoyable for them.

p.r.e.p.® is a starting place if you’re looking to begin an exercise program. We are housed in Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness in North Raleigh and provide our patients with an encouraging and unintimidating environment. If you’d like to join in the fun and start taking fill your prescription at the gym, let me know mskidmore@healthtrax.net 

Also new in 2018, a 12-week lifestyle and weight management program, CHIP. This 18-session, evidence-based lifestyle program is being launched at American Institute of Healthcare & Fitness on March 20th. Unlike any other program in the area, CHIP is the most scientifically validated lifestyle medicine program in the world and improves blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, weight, fasting blood sugar, sleep, resilience, and depression.

If managing your weight is on your list for 2018, please consider attending one of the FREE information sessions.

Whatever your goals are in 2018, I hope you make a plan and stick with it and celebrate each little success. Recruit someone to help hold you accountable or join in on your journey. Be empowered by your motivation to make changes and know that these two programs are here to help make it a little easier.

Yours in Health,

Megan Skidmore, Exercise Physiologist

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