In early November 2014, my travels took me to Napa for my annual Napa Primary Care Conference. This is a great meeting that combines a half day of medical education with a half day exploring the beautiful Napa Valley for walking, cycling and great wine tasting. The theme for this conference is “Caring for the Active and Athletic Patient” and we had a great faculty this year. They provided a comprehensive set of lectures on managing common medical and musculoskeletal problems commonly seen in our active patients or that may be helped by regular physical activity. We also had several lectures on the topics of stress and the effect of happiness on your health. The impact of both is quite substantial and studies show us that exercise has a powerful effect on both helping you manage stress and improving your mood.
One of the speakers talked about a poster he has in his exam room that says “Whatever you are seeing me for today, being sedentary is making it worse”. I love that thought because it is so true. I am hard pressed to think of any issue I see as a family physician that could not be prevented or helped by doing regular exercise like a brisk walk. In fact, the leading causes of death around the world today are Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) or diseases that are not caused by infection. Today the most common causes of death and disability are chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes or cancer. These are all diseases that can be prevented or treated by regular exercise like a brisk walk. It is amazing that so many people fail to understand how important regular physical activity is to their health and take the small amount of time needed to get this done every day. Like I have said many times before, Exercise is Medicine and everyone needs to take it!
While in Napa I of course made time to be active every day. This included a lot of walking around town and thru vineyards and also cycling along the historic Silverado Trail that is packed with one great winery after another. There is nothing better than taking a break from riding a bike to sample a few tastes of some great Napa wine. The weather was perfect and the combination of great friends, food and of course wine made of an awesome few days to relax and unwind.
I hope you are finding ways to get both the exercise you need and the healthy pleasures you crave to lead an active and happy life. I know that walking can be a key ingredient to this important formula.
Keep on walking my friends!
Photo Caption: Walking in Napa, CA with my good friend Dr. David Sobel