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South Peninsula Hospital kicks off 'Walk with a Doc' program

October 5th | Special to the Homer Tribune Print this article   Email this article  

South Peninsula Hospital is encouraging residents to take a step toward better health with Walk with a Doc, a program that brings doctors and healthcare providers in step with their patients and members of the community to walk and talk.

Starting this month, a different provider will offer monthly discussions on a current health topic, then spend the remainder of an hour walking and conversing. It's free, and participants can walk their own pace and distance. The kickoff event is this Saturday at 9 a.m., when Dr. Rob Downey, functional medicine provider and hospital chief of staff, will lead a brief discussion on high blood pressure, followed by a healthy indoor walk at South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center.

Walk with a Doc is a national nonprofit organization whose 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.

Although South Peninsula Hospital regularly offers community forum-style learning opportunities which feature presentations from hospital healthcare providers, Bonita Banks, registered nurse and community health and wellness coordinator for SPH, said this approach seemed more in line with truly demonstrating the message.

"There's no question that increasing exercise, even moderately, reduces the risks of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes," said Banks. "Research has even shown that you could gain two hours of life for each hour that you exercise regularly."

According to the American Heart Association, walking as little as 30 minutes a day can provide these benefits:

• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

• Help maintain a healthy body weight and lower the risk of obesity

• Enhance mental well-being

• Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Homer joins a growing list of communities nationwide that have started local Walk with a Doc programs. Learn more at www.sphosp.org.

 

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