In November, the city of San Marcos, Central Texas Medical Center and a collection of other area organizations launched Fitscription, a program that encourages doctors, nutritionists, therapists and other health care stakeholders to prescribe exercise to patients in San Marcos.

DerryAnn Krupinsky, secretary of the Health City Task Force, a group created by the city of San Marcos, said the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance proposed the idea to the task force after similar programs launched in New Mexico and Connecticut.

"It's a way for [doctors] to reach any age patient and encourage them to be active," Krupinsky said.

Doctors participating in the program are given pads on which they can write prescriptions for walking. An initial prescription may be "Walk 10 minutes per day for so many days a week," Krupinsky said. On the back of the pad is a map of San Marcos' trails.

Dalia Hernandez, operations coordinator for CREATION Health, CTMC's faith-based health and wellness program, said she has distributed prescription pads to more than 50 doctors' offices in San Marcos, Kyle, Lockhart and Wimberley. Pads have also been given to nurses at San Marcos CISD, nutritionists and others interested in promoting health. Hernandez said some offices have already called to ask for more pads.

"It seems like everyone has been really receptive to it," Hernandez said. "It's a different approach [to health care]."

Krupinsky said the task force is working on getting more participation from schools and bringing area businesses into the program. One idea to bring nutrition into the program is to have local restaurants advertise healthy items on their menu via a Fitscription "endorsement," she said.

Members of the Healthy City Task Force are also involved with groups such as the San Marcos Riverwalkers and the San Marcos Area Trail Walkers, both of which take regular group walks on commonly prescribed trails.

"We're really just trying to encourage people to go outside and enjoy what we have here in town, because a lot of people can say, 'It's too far,' or, 'I can't pay for a membership at a gym,' so we're saying, 'No, it's here and it's available and it's free,'" Hernandez said.