In this Feb. 1, 2016 still photo from video, Gibbs Saunders, right, managing director of the nonprofit Healthworks Community Fitness, exercises with clients at their gym in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
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When Dr. Michelle Johnson scribbles out prescriptions, the next stop for many of her patients is the gym, not the pharmacy. Doctors treating chronic health problems are increasingly prescribing exercise for their patients – and encouraging them to think of physical activity as their new medication.In one such program run by a health center in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, primary care physicians, internists and psychologists prescribe access to a gym for $10 a month, including free child care, classes and kids programs. Monisha Long, who is morbidly obese and suffers from hypertension, got a doctor's prescription for exercise and says she's gotten visible and dramatic results after more than two years of regular workouts.Dr. Edward Phillips, a Boston physician, is so sold on exercise he pedals on a stationary bike that's integrated into his office desk.
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