In late January 2016, my travels took me to beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado to lecture at the 17th Annual Sports Medicine Course that is jointly sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. This was a great meeting held at a really fun venue that allowed for the perfect combination of learning and outdoor activity. I was there to give several clinical sports medicine lectures; along with a keynote talk on Exercise is Medicine and the health benefits of staying active. The audience consisted mostly of orthopedic surgeons and they were very receptive to the idea that they should be actively promoting exercise to their patients.
If you think about it, this message really applies to every medical specialty because it is hard to find a medical condition that is not helped or prevented by regular exercise. I always tell my physician colleagues that if you are taking care of live patients, you should be prescribing exercise at every visit. Orthopedic surgeons are particularly relevant to this message, since they really specialize in helping people get back to their sports and exercise after they are injured.
While of course I acknowledge that injuries can occur with exercise, the benefits to health far outweigh the risks of injury. And the injury risk can be minimized by starting out slow and gradually advancing both the time and intensity of your workouts. You can also lower the risk of injury by engaging in a variety of different workouts or what we call cross training. While the purpose of my blog is mainly to promote walking, you should also try to do some resistance exercises (weight lifting) on several days each week, along with some stretching exercises to promote flexibility. Regularly engaging in all kinds of exercise can not only improve your health, but also your quality of life by improving your functional capacity – that is the ability to do the things you want to do.
Or course, while I was in Steamboat I got plenty of exercise. But on this trip it mostly came in the form of downhill skiing. And the conditions were perfect, with 10 or so inches of fresh powder and some challenging terrain. My legs got a great workout trying to keep up with friends and colleagues on the slopes.
I hope this blog finds you well and staying active every day.
Keep walking my friends!