In mid-February 2016, my travels took me to the Persian Gulf and Doha, Qatar. I was there to do some lecturing and teaching at the world class Aspetar Sports Medicine Clinic. I came as part of a U.S. delegation of primary care sports medicine physicians, which included my good friends Drs. Bill Dexter, Bert Fields and Rob Johnson. Qatar is in the midst of ramping up its sports medicine in anticipation of hosting World Track Championships in 2019 and the Soccer World Cup in 2022. Our delegation put on a mini team physician course for the local sports medicine practitioners there and we also got the chance to observe both the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships and the Women’s Tennis Associations 2016 Qatar Open being held there in Doha.
I was also excited to observe the growth of the Exercise is Medicine program in Qatar. I had visited Doha back in 2014 to present a Grand Rounds Lecture on this topic and meet with various physicians on how best to promote exercise to patients. So I was amazed to see how far they have come since my last visit and observe how they are actively prescribing exercise to help treat and prevent various chronic diseases.
Like America, Qatar has rising rates of chronic disease due mostly to a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. They are trying to change that thru dedicated Exercise is Medicine clinics in which experienced physicians help design physical activity programs for patients who need to get more active. This program has been very successful and is being expanded as part of a solution to combat chronic diseases in the region. Walking is of course a central feature of the efforts to get the population more active in Qatar and is generally looked at as the default exercise prescription.
As always, I got to do a lot of walking during my visit. The weather was beautiful and that allowed us to get out in the evening for long walks around the Aspire Zone, which surrounds the famous Torch Hotel where we stayed. The Torch Hotel looks down on the almost completed stadium (which will host the Track Championships and World Cup matches), along with various other World Class Sports Facilities, in addition to many parks and walking trails. It makes for a great place to walk!
Thanks as always for reading my blog and I hope it finds you healthy, happy and walking every day.