LOS ANGELES (KABC) --It's a growing trend among physicians. More and more doctors are writing prescriptions for the gym and encouraging patients to think of physical activity as their new medication.
Dr. Anna Groskin said she prescribes exercise for patients with diabetes, hypertension, obesity as well as depression and other mood disorders.
Doctors said patients are more likely to comply when the prescription comes with affordable gym access.
Dr. Edward Phillips practices what he prescribes.
"Now the doctor's writing a prescription. The next piece that we're getting much better at is providing a solution and providing a place where the prescription is being filled," Phillips said.
In Boston, the Codman Square Health Center partnered with a local fitness company to build a community gym.
Patients who have exercise prescriptions get free membership for three months, and then pay according to ability.
"I pay about $10 a month because I only have a part-time job right now. It's not a big sacrifice for something that you get big rewards from," said Stephanie Dennis.
Doctors say it's not a cure-all, but research shows real impact and benefit for people who get regular, physical activity.
Studies also show exercise can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Monisha Long got an exercise prescription to help her manage high blood pressure and obesity, and it worked. She's lost more than 150 pounds after working out for two years.
"I'm more energized. I feel a lot better as far as my energy. I feel like I'm stronger. I feel like I'm less tired. I feel like I can do almost anything now," Long said.