In late November of 2015, my travels took me to Canada and the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was there to give the opening address for the annual Clinical Updates in Sports Medicine Conference, sponsored by the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre at the University of British Columbia. This is always a great meeting and this year’s theme was Exercise is Medicine – Across the Lifespan. My talk was on the history of the Exercise is Medicine initiative and the need to connect fitness with healthcare. I also talked about the Every Body Walk! Campaign and the recent US Surgeon General’s Call to Action to get American walking.
I continue to be amazed at how both of these initiatives have grown, both across the United States and internationally. Exercise is Medicine – Canada has been a particularly strong international collaborator and was well represented at this meeting. In addition, the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine changed its name a few years back to the Canadian Academy of Sports and Exercise Medicine, to signify their support of the powerful role that exercise can play in improving health. So it was fun to talk to this group of Canadian physicians that believe, like I do, that regular exercise (such as walking) is the single most powerful thing one can do to improve their health. And for that reason all physicians should prescribe walking to patients just like it was a medicine.
Of course, while in Vancouver I made sure to get out and do some walking. It certainly ranks as one of my favorite cities to walk in and I was able to take a quick stroll along the waterfront and into beautiful Stanley Park, one of the best places on the planet one can find for a nice walk. Vancouver also ranks among the most walkable cities in the world with a wide assortment of shopping and dining options that are all accessible using public transportation and walking. It is so refreshing to not need a car and be able to explore a city on foot. This has made Vancouver a model for what other cities should aspire to become.
I hope this blog finds you healthy and looking forward to the holidays. Going for a nice walk with family and friends is great way to spend time together and get the exercise you need to stay healthy.
Keep walking my friends!
Photo caption: At the UBC meeting with Dr. Doug Clement