We all know that biking is great for staying in shape and getting from point A to B with zero impact to the environment, but how many of us hop on our bikes simply because our physician tells us to?
TreeHugger reports that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Medical Center (BMC) have come up with a first-of-its-kind initiative to combat obesity and to increase access to Beantown’s bike share system, Hubway.
The so-called “Prescribe-a-Bike” program allows BMC doctors to provide low-income patients with a $5 membership to Hubway that usually costs $85 a year. The prescription even throws in a free helmet, too.
To qualify for membership, “patients” must be 16 or older and receive public housing assistance or have a household income that’s not above 400 percent of the official poverty level, TreeHugger reports.
“There is no other program like this in the country,” Mayor Walsh told Boston Magazine. “Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike-share system.”
It’s actually becoming increasingly common for doctors to prescribe good ol’ exercise to their patients. WebMD cites a report from the CDC that found that one in three adults were advised by their doctors to increase physical activity in order to maintain or improve their health. That’s an increase from the year 2000 when less than a quarter of patients were given doctor’s orders to exercise. This is certainly a good trend because patients are five times more likely to exercise if their doctors tells them to, WebMD notes.
Since this country’s obesity, heart disease, and diabetes epidemics show no signs of abating, we can only hope that out-there ideas like Boston’s Prescribe-a-Bike program will get adults moving.