Active living is a pillar of healthy living. But simply knowing this mantra is not always enough to get people up and moving. That’s why the award-winning Prescription to Get Active program—a partnership between Calgary-area PCNs and recreation facilities—gives people free passes to fitness centres.

The starting point

Lyndsay Waymouth received her Prescription to Get Active in January 2015. She has become an inspiration for friends and family. She invites them on hikes; they join her for Zumba classes. Her mother does deep-water workouts with her, and her boyfriend is also now more active.

Lyndsay wasn’t always an advocate of exercise, but that changed about a year ago, when the licensed nurse practitioner had back surgery for a badly herniated disk. “I wasn’t feeling good about myself. I knew I needed to lose weight to deal with the back pain I was experiencing,” she recalls. “I didn’t feel like exercising because I was afraid I’d hurt myself.”

A doctor’s perspective

Lyndsay went to Dr. Mark Sosnowski, a member of the Mosaic PCN. A firm believer in the Prescription to Get Active program, he happily wrote Lyndsay a Prescription to Get Active. “We need to make active living part of everyday living,” he says.

Active living reduces the risk of colds, prevents dementia and aids in managing depression, cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure and diabetes. Lyndsay agrees. “My main goal is to strengthen my core and my body to help my back get better.”

Facilities partner for healthier communities

Lyndsay is one of more than 250 people who have filled their prescriptions this year at partner facilities in Calgary and area. Genesis Place in Airdrie is one of those partners. Other partners in north Calgary and Cochrane include World Health Club at North Hill Mall, Foothills Aquatic Centre and Spray Lakes Sawmills Family Sports Centre.

Genesis Place facility manager Greg Lockert says his organization was built to encourage people to become more active. “The program is an opportunity for people who are not active to get into the facility, become more active and make healthy lifestyle changes.”

A rewarding journey

Lyndsay says the first week of the program was difficult, but she forced herself to keep at it. “Then I noticed my back wasn’t as stiff and I could stand on my feet longer. I was feeling better and that kept me going.”

After going to a variety of classes at a nearby rec centre for several months, Lyndsay has moved her activities outside for summer. During weekend camping trips, she finds campsites near water where she can paddle board or near trails, so she can hike.

Once camping season is over, Lyndsay will resume classes in the rec centre. Being active is part of her life now. “I’ve met amazing people and my relationships are better because my mood is better,” Lyndsay says. She also has more energy and her back pain has eased.

Who qualifies?

Patients of PCN family doctors in the Calgary area who need to become more active and can exercise without supervision or medical restrictions can ask their physician for a Prescription to Get Active.

—Anne Georg

Find out more

To find out more about Prescription to Get Active, see our Workshops and Activities pages.