Save pennies and lose pounds

OVERWEIGHT residents from the Cheddar and Axbridge area can pick up a prescription for cheap gym sessions to help fight the flab

OVERWEIGHT residents from the Cheddar and Axbridge area can pick up a prescription for cheap gym sessions to help fight the flab.Anyone wanting to lose a few stones can pop to their GP who can prescribe an eight-10 week training scheme at a nearby leisure centre at a discounted rate.The Exercise on Prescription scheme aims to show people how to lose weight by taking part in sports and activities, rather than taking more drastic measures such as stomach-stapling surgery and dangerous diets.A spokesman for Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT), the authority behind the scheme, said: "Anyone who wants to lose weight can talk to their doctor who will write out the prescription, the same as they would do for tablets or medicine. "The patient can then take this along to a participating gym for an eight to 10 week training session. "The idea is to tutor people how to exercise safely and effectively. After the 10 weeks, they can carry on the routine to lose weight."A similar scheme has been set up to help people who have just had heart surgery. Obviously they cannot just start running marathons after such a serious procedure so a qualified trainer can advise them on what exercises to do."More than 50 people in Cheddar and Axbridge have been signing up to the new type of treatment each year.Kings of Wessex Leisure Centre in Cheddar and King Alfred School's gym in Highbridge are two centres which take part in the scheme. The Cheddar sports facility usually gets a new patient each week, while the Highbridge gym gets approximately one a fortnight. Anyone who signs up to the scheme has the luxury of a qualified trainer to guide them through their exercise. The courses cost around £40 per person and prescriptions are available from GPs across Somerset.


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