Government offers prescription for healthy living

For many people, September signals the start of a new year, and with it, the desire to make some changes

Forget the new year.

For many people, September signals the start of a new year, and with it, the desire to make some changes, especially when it comes to lifestyle.

There’s also the added incentive that, for most people, the province will offer a $50 subsidy to help people get started on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Called the Prescription for Health program, B.C. residents of all ages can apply for the $50 credit, as long as they fit into one of four categories. These include being a smoker, having unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity or obesity.

A physician must complete and sign the form, and the person must then register and pay for an approved physical activity or nutrition program before submitting the form to receive the $50 reimbursement.

“It can be a great incentive to help people get going,” said Heather Stanton, co-owner of ProActive Fitness and a registered British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association trainer and trainer of fitness leaders.

“The qualifications are broad enough that many people would qualify, they just have to approach their doctor.”

One caution for people is that the program needs to be run by a certified professional, or at a recognized facility, like the pool at the SASCU Recreation Centre.

“The fitness industry is not currently a regulated industry,” says Stanton, “So people should be aware of this when they are looking for a program. Is your instructor certified and qualified to teach what they’re teaching?”

Stanton says there are a number of ways people can check to see if an instructor would be qualified, including looking for posted certifications, checking a new online registry at www.thefitnessregistry.com, or through the BCRPA website at www.bcrpa.bc.ca.

While the BCRPA is the most common, there are other reputable certifications, such at the National Fitness Leadership Alliance.

Without proper certification, a fitness instructor does not have any insurance and may not have the knowledge to instruct that type of class or deal with a client’s health limitations.