What if I told you that there was a miracle treatment that, when used for 30 minutes a day, could improve the symptoms of whatever disease you suffer from? Would you be interested? What if I further told you that this treatment was completely free, did not require an appointment, and could be obtained right outside your front door - whenever it was convenient for you? Do you think you would sign up for such a treatment?
So what is this miracle treatment? It's exercise! Thirty minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise - such as walking - has been shown to have a myriad of health benefits for all kinds of different health conditions. So many, in fact, that the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges recently released a paper calling exercise "the miracle cure."
Study after study has shown the benefits of exercise for almost every disease under the sun. It has been shown to reduce the pain from osteoarthritis, decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, drastically reduce the chances of dying from a heart attack or stroke, improve symptoms of COPD/emphysema, lower your cholesterol, improve insulin resistance and blood sugar in people with diabetes, and help lessen symptoms in Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis. It has also been shown to decrease the changes of developing many different types of cancer; some studies have shown that even if you already have had cancer, exercise can help reduce the changes of that cancer coming back. If that's not a miracle drug, then I don't know what is!
As an Emergency Medicine physician, I bear witness daily to the toll that disease takes on the members of our community. I see patients from all walks of life who are struggling with medical issues, such as a stroke that has left half of the body paralyzed, or uncontrolled high blood pressure that led to heart failure, or poorly controlled diabetes resulting in kidney failure or an amputated leg, or a lifetime of smoking that has crippled the lungs, sever anxiety or depression, and addiction issues, just to name a few. I see the toll it takes on my patients, as well as on their loved ones, and the community.
I struggle constantly with the knowledge that, in many cases, in my role as an Emergency Medicine physician, I am helping people with the ramifications of their disease long after it has wreaked havoc in their life. I went into medicine to help people, and it has become increasingly evident to me that for the most part, the nation's current medical system does a better job of treating the symptoms of our diseases than it does addressing the root causes of them. This bothers me, and I decided that I wanted to do something that would help my patients, and the members of my community, deal with their illnesses and hopefully prevent them in a more holistic manner. At Fort HealthCare, I am so pleased that the focus is on preventing chronic illnesses before they begin, or improving quality of life as much as possible.
So please join me and other Fort HealthCare providers for the inaugural Walk With A Doc event coming up on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. I will be giving a short introductory talk, and then we will go for a walk together as a group. This is a chance to get outside, move your body, and interact with doctors and other healthcare providers in a non-clinical setting. I want to stress that everyone is welcome, no matter your fitness level. You can walk as little or as much as you'd like or are comfortable doing. Even if you haven't exercised in years, or have never exercised, this is a great opportunity to hang out with a friendly group of folks and start walking.
All of us have heard of the miracle treatment I've talked about here, and it is attainable for nearly everyone. It doesn't matter if you are 9 or 99; if you use a walker or a wheelchair; if you are too thin or 200 pounds overweight. Everyone can benefit from this treatment, and everyone can find some way to do it.
Here are the details for Walk With A Doc again:
All ages and fitness levels are encouraged to attend. Please dress for the weather. I hope to see you there!