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Michael Stefano, FDNY captain and author of The Firefighter's Workout Book, has been training with NYC firefighters and men and women from all walks of life for almost 20 years. In addition to his book, Stefano offers Customized Workouts.

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Prescription Exercise Presciption RxExercise
by Michael Stefano

We�ve all been there at one time or another. A bad cold, flu, or some other unexplained host of symptoms sends us scampering off to the doctor. More often than not, a little medicine and some bed rest handle the problem. Faithfully, we follow orders, knowing our good doctor�s prescription will make it all better.

When a more serious ailment is discovered, we�re even more attentive to what our physician recommends. Sometimes harsh drugs and invasive surgery are the best ways to manage an illness, but if it means getting well, we�re willing to comply with almost any protocol. Simplify your workouts, click here.

America�s Number One Killer
The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. And it�s not exclusively a male problem any more. A recent study (February 2004) published by the American Heart Association found that half a million women die each year of heart disease or stroke. That�s more than the next seven causes of death, including cancer, combined.

While there�s no magic pill that controls all forms of cardiovascular disease, there is an effective prescription for prevention, regular exercise. The surgeon general�s 1996 recommendation for 30 minutes of daily exercise sent a resounding message to the medical community.

Get on board because the proof is in, and it�s been here for over two decades; exercise has been shown to effectively control blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, lower triglyceride levels, and have powerfully positive impact on overall heart health, not to mention its prophylactic effect on many other dreaded diseases.

Today, science and medicine are shouting the message of exercise for good health from the university rooftops. Despite a huge effort to communicate this to America, an overwhelming one third of our society is still considered overweight or at risk for obesity related diseases.

Use It or Lose It
The human animal is designed to be quite active. On a daily basis, our ancestors needed to forage or hunt for food, as well as run and fight for pure survival. When not challenged regularly, your body�s muscles (including your heart muscle) will experience atrophy and weaken. The reason why exercise is good for you is simple � you either use it or lose it! When coupled with a never-ending food supply (where fat and sugar make up the bulk of most diets), you can see why there�s an imbalance that needs to be overcome.

And there�s also a fringe benefit to all this healthy stuff. When you work out, you not only improve overall health and feel years younger, you get to look like a million bucks. A combined diet and exercise program allows you to eat to satisfaction and still reduce body fat while you tone and firm muscles.

Why Do We Still Resist?
Health, beauty, strength, self-esteem, confidence, and independence are what exercise delivers. So why do so many still resist? Even when your family physician recommends that you work out and eat right, compliance is partial at best. Would it make a difference if your doctor jotted �exercise� on a little prescription pad, and handed it to you as you left the office? Might you then take the prescription seriously enough to follow it religiously?

In a perfect world, your doctor�s prescription for exercise would be covered by health insurance and include the name of a training institution. While that�s not about to happen any time soon, ask your doctor if he knows of any trainers in your community that he�s worked with. Another option would be to contact the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for a list of certified trainers in your area.

Make sure you physician specifies if there are any particular restrictions on your program, and communicate this to your trainer as well. I ask you to consider my custom workout program that I make available via this website, and at a one-time-only fee. This completely personalized fitness plan provides you with a comprehensive program based solely on my 15-point fitness profile (take a peak).

Take the medical community and your doctor�s recommendation to eat right and workout very seriously. The actual commitment is minimal for an overwhelming return, as you literally shave years off your age while adding years to your life.

Best of Health,
Mike Stefano

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