In early April 2012 my latest travels took me to New Orleans, Louisiana to speak at the annual convention of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four College Basketball Championships. The title of my talk was “Balancing Basketball and a Healthy Lifestyle: Keys to Success”. As a former high school and college basketball player, speaking to these coaches was really a thrill for me. I know first-hand how important a figure coaches are in the lives of their players. I also know that the life of a basketball coach can be stressful and often times they don’t do the things they need to do to stay healthy. My hope is that I can influence these coaches to adopt a healthy lifestyle and that they will in turn pass that on to the players that look up to them.
So my message to these coaches was really about getting daily exercise, eating right, not smoking and going in for regular check-ups with their personal physician. Of course, one of my central themes was to remind them how important it is to do regular exercise, like walking. To help them track their walking, I gave each coach an Every Body Walk! Pedometer and told them they needed to try to do 8-10,000 steps per day. I also let them know about the Every Body Walk Mobile App for their Smartphone and told them how they could download it to help them track and personalize their walking.
I know that regular walking can help these coaches be more healthy and successful. Walking really is like a medication in so many ways.
For the person with a stressful life, we know that regular walking helps your mood by releasing endorphins that can help melt away stress and tension.
It also works like a medication to treat depression and anxiety.
In addition, regular walking lowers the risk for chronic disease and obesity, while at the same time helping you to live longer. In fact, one recent study showed that walking just 15 minutes per day increased life expectancy by 3 years! So that is why as a family doctor I am so convinced of the need to get everybody to walk.
I got great feedback from the coaches who attended my talk and I saw them wearing their pedometers throughout the weekend. I also got to attend the Final Four semifinal and final games with my son Matt and with my old college basketball coach Reggie Minton. And of course, I got in a ton of walking around New Orleans. From walking to the convention center for my talk, to the Super Dome for the game and to Bourbon Street for people watching, New Orleans is a great city to walk in.
Thanks for reading this and keep on walking!