In mid-August 2015, my travels took me to Beijing, to speak at the National Healthy Lifestyles Conference that was sponsored by the Chinese CDC. Much like the United States, China is suffering from an epidemic of chronic diseases that are mostly related to lifestyle factors. And just like in the US, the major lifestyle factors causing disease in China are lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking. While the situation is not as bad as in the US, it is headed in the wrong direction and the purpose of this meeting was to try and develop strategies to change this trend.
My talk focused on the importance of exercise to health and I shared ideas on how best to promote walking to patients. In addition, I met with Chinese journalists and leaders from Beijing Sports University, as well as leaders in the Chinese fitness industry to talk about how we need to try and merge fitness with healthcare. My talks were very well received and like always I continue to be amazed at how similar we are around the world in terms of issues related to health.
This trip was very special to me because I took my oldest daughter, Samantha with me. It was great to spend time with her and do a lot of sight-seeing. It was her first trip to China and she really loved the culture, the great sights and even the food – which can be a challenge to the American palate at times.
Of course, while in China we did a lot of walking. I would say the highlight (and longest walk) was seeing and walking on the Great Wall. It is simply amazing to see this wall and how long it stretches and to imaging it was built over 600 years ago! We also loved seeing the Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Tiennamen Square and Temple of Heaven, in addition to many other local attractions. Unfortunately, the Forbidden City was closed during our trip in preparation for an upcoming celebration and parade.
Thank you as always for reading my blog and sharing my passion for walking to improve health. I hope you are healthy, happy and walking every day.