December 29, 2017
Panacea, Fla – Dr. Karen Bartley, a family physician from Wakulla Medical Center, will lead North Florida’s first “Walk With a Doc” walking program on Thursday, Jan. 4, at Woolley Park in Panacea.
“Walk with a Doc,” an hour long walking program for everyone interested in taking steps for a healthier lifestyle, starts at 4:30 PM. Meet at the entrance to Woolley Park at 48 Mound Street in Panacea. The trail is a loop so all levels can participate.
Registration is not required for the free event, the first in North Florida for a program already active in more than 100 other cities.
The program encourages healthy physical activity in people of all ages to help reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and to improve the health and well-being of the country. Coordinated by a non-profit organization of the same name, Walk with a Doc has more than 190 active programs across the United States and around the world.
“Sometimes having the opportunity to see a doctor outside of the clinic environment gives people an opportunity to ask a question that they wouldn’t otherwise ask.” shares Bartley. “We will be having brief talks at the beginning of each walk. Being a family physician, I can speak to a breath of health topics.”
Walk with the Doc programs include a short health talk and are followed by up to 45 minutes of walking. You don’t need to be a marathon runner to benefit from exercise. The simple act of walking can have striking health benefits. Many conditions such as fatigue, pain, insulin resistance and depression can be improved by simply increasing or initiating physical activity. “Because the location is a loop, if participants need to take a break or join us for just a few laps, it is okay. The big thing is that they are out there trying and adding activity to their lives” Bartley says.
Short walks yield long-term health gains
Bartley stresses that increasing exercise, even moderately, reduces the risks or many diseases, including coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer and type 2 diabetes. “Recent studies show that you could gain two hours of life for each hour that you exercise regularly” she says.
According to the American Heart Association, walking as little as 30 minutes a day also can provide the following 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
Walk With a Doc was created by Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist who practices at Mount Carmel Health Systems in Columbus, Ohio, who has been walking every weekend since 2005. The expansion and support of the program is supported by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The mission of the Walk with A Doc organization is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages providing an opportunity for those in the community to walk and talk with a local physician in a safe, fun, easily-accessible location.
“I don’t just want to be a doctor in an office. I want to be part of my community,” Bartley says. “I want people to know that I’m willing to take that first step with them outside of the office.”
For more information about the program and future walks, visit the Walk with a Doc website.
About Wakulla Medical Center
Wakulla Medical Center is part of the North Florida Medical Centers family and committed to providing comprehensive primary health care services and behavioral health services to the community. Wakulla Medical Center accepts most insurance and offers a sliding scale discount program for eligible patients. The center provides highly efficient and cost-effective health care for the entire family, which reduces or eliminates the need for costly care in the emergency room or avoidable hospital stays.
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