Northeast Oregon Prescription Trails is a program focused on addressing lack of physical activity and the corresponding chronic conditions attributed to and/or worsened by sedentary lifestyles. We work together with healthcare providers to help community members create healthier lifestyles and improve their health, by using exercise as medicine. If you have received your corresponding “prescription pad”, please use the information below to help integrate the program into your workflow. If you would like a program “prescription pad” or have concerns, please call the Good Shepherd Education Department at 541-667-3509.
Walking can be a “one size fits all” form of physical activity because it is a no- cost, highly accessible, and generally safe activity with a lower injury risk than higher intensity activities. It can be adjusted based on cardiovascular fitness and ability level, and it has been shown to prevent and manage a multitude of health concerns6. Being physically active has been shown to: help with weight management, aid in the management of anxiety and depression, prevent the development and progression of type 2 diabetes, serve as a protective factor for cancer and heart disease, and much more5. Sadly, only 56% of Oregonians met the CDC recommendations for aerobic activity in 20173. This is reflected in our community’s skewed rates of preventable morbidity and mortality. Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression are all significant issues in our community; which presents great opportunity for treatment and prevention using lifestyle change as an additional tool to tackle these health problems. Physical activity prescription is a behavior change intervention that is gaining traction nationwide due to its efficacy and accessibility.
Please browse the links below to learn more about the risks of inactivity and the well documented benefits of physical activity:
The adult and older adult recommendation for aerobic exercise is 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes per week of vigorous intensity activity, spread throughout the week4. This can easily workout to 30 minutes, 5 days a week; which sounds much less daunting to patients. Exercise that is prescribed in an “affective” manner (based on a person’s perception of difficulty or enjoyment rather than hitting a specific heart rate) has been shown to be effective, motivating, and have good adherence among people with low cardio respiratory fitness1. This style of prescribing can foster positive attitudes towards exercise; a significant hurdle for many starting or attempting to maintain an exercise regimen.We would encourage program prescribers to have their patients meet the current exercise recommendation guidelines and measure intensity by using the “talk test” mentioned below.
Patients can measure the intensity of their activity with the “talk test”; vigorous intensity activity requires breaths in between every few words, while moderate intensity activity would allow a person to speak, but not sing4. Any amount of physical activity can add up to health benefits and patients building up to longer periods of exercise can still meet the recommendations by starting with 10 minute increments5.
Patients who are disabled or have a chronic condition can also benefit from an exercise prescription. A doctor's recommendation made people with a disability 82% more likely to engage in physical activity2. The current physical activity guidelines for people who have a chronic condition or disability do not differ from the general adult recommendations. If a disability impacts meeting the recommendations, people should include physical activity which matches their ability level and avoid sedentary lifestyles as much as possible4. The website does contain trails with accessibility grading and those with wheel chairs, canes, or other mobility devices should be encouraged to choose “grade 1” trails; which should be highly accessible with no large (ADA 5% or less) changes in grade, unless otherwise marked with caution notes.