In late April, 2014, my travels took me to the great city of Boston to speak at the 43rd Annual Sports Medicine Symposium at the Boston Marathon. Given the tragic bomb incidents that occurred last year, this year’s conference and race were very moving and special. I spoke on “Assessing and Prescribing Exercise in Clinical Practice” to a very receptive group. It felt like I was preaching to the choir, since a significant number of the symposium attendees were either running the marathon or working in the medical tent on race day. In my talk, I emphasized the importance of healthcare providers being role models for healthy behavior, since evidence suggests that physicians who exercise are more likely to encourage their patients to exercise. I think that message resonated, since this was a group that definitely “walks the talk”.
During my Boston visit, I also got to help out in the medical tent on race day and hear first-hand about the skill and bravery of the medical tent volunteers and other first responders who cared for the bomb victims last year. It was clear that many were still healing from that horrific experience, and seemed more than ready for the race to be over and without incident. Race day was sunny and beautiful, with record crowds on hand to witness and participate in this historic race. It was obvious that the events of last year did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the people of Boston and others who travel from around the USA (and world) to run the marathon each year. I was able to see for myself the meaning of “Boston Strong” and I came away very moved. I was also moved by the power of an event like the Boston Marathon to motivate so many people to become active and fit. I couldn’t help but think “if only I could get my sedentary and high risk patients signed up for an event like this, my job would sure be easier!” Of course, you don’t need to be a marathon runner to get the tremendous health benefits of exercise. In fact, walking 30 minutes a day does just fine for most of us. While doing more than 150 minutes of walking (or other exercise) per week does add some benefit, the real bang for your buck is when you go from doing nothing to just doing 20-30 minutes per day.
Of course, during my Boston visit I made sure to get out and walk. The weather was cool, but nice enough to enjoy some great walks along the Charles River and up Boylston Street to the hallowed marathon finish line.
Thanks for reading my blog and helping to spread the word the Every Body should walk! Keep walking my friends.