Walking is a free activity that most people can do at any age in any location. However, people aren’t walking enough and need the physical and mental health benefits associated with this simple exercise.
Dr. David Sabgir recognized a need to motivate and inform people about walking so he started Walk with a Doc and now there are 143 locations in 35 states and five countries, including Canada. Walk with a Doc is a regular gathering in a public park in your city where a doctor—and sometimes other health experts—meet up with members of the general public to take a walk together while also learning more about good health.
“By providing a health care professional, we are looking to break down many barriers,” Dr. Sabgir said. The barriers he is referring to include barriers between patients and exercise, patients and physicians, and more. “You have a physician that you can bounce questions off of without a charge, a wait, or any hassles in a relaxing environment.”
Step into Health
The benefits of walking are universally touted and an important part of reducing symptoms of many chronic conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, walkers can improve their health:
- maintain a healthy weight
- prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- strengthen your bones
- lift your mood
- improve your balance and coordination
- The health benefits increase the faster, farther and more frequently that you walk.
Walk with a Doc metrics also show that:
- 90.8 percent of participants feel they are more educated since starting Walk with a Doc
- 75.2 percent of participants get significantly more exercise since starting Walk with a Doc
- 70.1 percent of participants feel more empowered
- 98.5 percent enjoy the refreshing concept of pairing physicians with communities outside the traditional setting
“There have been hundreds of thousands of significant friendships created though the program,” Dr. Sabgir said. “Many of our walkers get together outside of the weekly events to meet for whatever reason.”
Since walking is free and does not require equipment or trained skills, it is surprising to learn how needed a program like Walk with a Doc is for the general public.
“Unfortunately only three percent of our country is achieving 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week,” Dr. Sabgir explained. “We are all bombarded with health ‘information’ and know exactly what to do—what we need is health inspiration.”
The opportunity to talk with doctors, walk with friends, and enjoy the great outdoors, provides inspiration for the thousands of people who Walk with a Doc. Not only can anyone show up to join in a walk (find a location near you here), local businesses can provide sponsorship at the local and national level. Walk with a Doc is adding about two sites per week, but new partnerships mean they may be adding five sites a week within a year.
“We have countless sponsors throughout the nation who partner with local chapters of WWAD,” said Rachael Habash, Executive Director of Walk with a Doc. “While these sponsors are not listed on our sponsorship page, they have an opportunity to promote their business at local walks. For example, various coffee shops will donate coffee; shoe stores will help with start-up costs; grocery stores will donate food items. There are countless others and many ways to get involved locally.”
Whether you live near a beach, in the mountains or the heart of the city, go for a walk today and help fulfill the mission of Walk with a Doc: “Our mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country.”