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Whether you are recovering from surgery, hoping to lose weight, aiming to strengthen your heart, or preventing diabetes, exercising regularly can help you feel better and stay healthy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends working out for 30 minutes a day at least five times per week. But depending on your current health, you may need to adjust your workout regimen, or you may want specialized help from a professional. A physician-referred fitness plan, also known as PREP, can help.
“If you are recovering from illness or surgery, or you are new to exercising but want to avoid health issues in the future, getting help from a specially trained fitness professional can help you safely reach your goals,” said Emily Heckman, PREP Coordinator, Inspira Fitness Connection.
What is PREP?
PREP is a three-month fitness program supervised by a certified medical fitness specialist. To take part in PREP, your doctor must first refer you to the program, which is comprised of group fitness sessions. There are more than 20 sessions offered 6 days per week.
“We recommend PREP participants attend at least two to three sessions per week to get the most out of the program,” said Heckman. “In addition, they have access to Inspira Fitness Connection during the program to work out on their own if they are approved for independent exercise.”
Who is PREP right for?
The PREP program’s goal is to get people moving safely; there are several tracks that appeal to a wide range of patients. They are:
- Lifestyle Management: We combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise to help you lose weight and get stronger so you can more easily complete daily activities, like cleaning, laundry, and yard work.
- Heart Health: The Heart Health track combines cardiovascular, strength training, and a nutrition plan to help you get heart healthy and prevent heart disease—the leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Empowerment: The Empowerment track is designed for cancer survivors. Building strength and staying active during and after cancer treatment can lessen side effects like fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
- Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes: Exercising can help you burn more calories and improve the way your body uses insulin, which can help you manage pre-diabetes or diabetes.
- Arthritis: If you have arthritis, avoiding physical activity can actually make joint pain worse. The Arthritis track uses aerobic activity and flexibility training to reduce pain and improve your ability to do daily activities.
- Prenatal/Postnatal: Whether you are pregnant or just had a baby, the Prenatal/Postnatal track can help with everything from resistance training to pelvic floor exercises to relaxation training and extra support.
- Cognitive Fitness: Staying physically active can help your cognition. The Cognitive Fitness track focuses on balance and coordination as well as cardiovascular and strength training. It also offers a social event to help participants stay active.
- Youth in Motion: Designed for kids 8-16, the Youth in Motion track aims to make moving fun, educate about nutrition and build a healthy foundation.
Regardless of the program, you are referred to, there are a number of benefits to taking part in PREP, rather than exercising individually.
“PREP offers exercise programs that are monitored closely by specially trained professionals to ensure what you’re doing is safe for your condition,” said Heckman. “We also provide help with nutrition, and for many, a way for people to socialize.”
If you or a loved one is interested in enrolling in the PREP program, reach out to your primary care provider to see if you’re eligible.