In mid-March my travels took me to the Detroit suburb of Troy, to speak at the 5th Annual Advances in Heart Disease Prevention and Rehabilitation meeting, sponsored by William Beaumont Hospital and organized by my good friend Dr. Barry Franklin. This is a great meeting that attracts local cardiologists, primary care physicians, cardiac rehab specialists and various other medical professions who care for patients with cardiovascular disease. You may not be aware that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the world, for both men and women. Very few of us have not been touched by this disease and most of us have close family members or friends who have died of cardiovascular disease. So this is a very important topic.

Of course, physical inactivity is one of the major modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Barry invited me to speak to this group in hopes of convincing them to prescribe exercise to their patients. I think it’s a bit depressing that the major focus on cardiovascular disease prevention has always been on treating high cholesterol and high blood pressure with expensive drugs that have numerous side effects. While at the same time, most healthcare providers barely mention a free drug called “exercise” that helps prevent and treat BOTH high cholesterol and high blood pressure. While taking a statin medication only helps with lowering cholesterol, taking daily exercise not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, hip fracture risk, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and so on…

It is clear that exercise is the most powerful medicine we have to offer to patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and a host of other medical problems. And the easiest way to get the exercise you need to be healthy is to walk for at least 30 minutes per day at a brisk pace on most days (5 or more) of the week. If you are at risk for heart disease or have a history of heart disease and your doctor has not prescribed for you to walk, you need to ask them why!

Even though my trip to the Detroit area was quick, I made sure to bundle up for the cold and take my daily walk. From there I flew on the Doha, Qatar and you can read about that trip in my next blog.

Keep walking my friends!