One trip I enjoy taking each year is to the Big Island of Hawaii and the Ironman Sports Medicine Conference. This five-day medical conference is held in conjunction with the legendary endurance event, during which athletes swim 2.4 miles, bicycle 112 miles, then run 26.2 miles (a full marathon) through the searing hot lava flows of Kona.

The conference strives to provide state of the art reviews of the latest science regarding sports and exercise, as well as common sports related injuries and illness. It also provides great opportunities for networking and a focus on improving the personal fitness and performance of conference attendees.

In addition to organizing the conference, which took place in early November 2011, I presented a session at the meeting on the health benefits of walking and talked a lot about the Every Body Walk! campaign. I showed the audience the Iverson Mall Walker video, and it was a hit as always.

It was great to present with my colleague Dr. Steve Blair, who is Professor of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. Steve’s extensive research on the health benefits of exercise has had a tremendous influence on me. That’s why I enjoy every opportunity to share with others how regular walking can prevent and treat many chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity, depression and diabetes – just to name a few.

Of course, I got in a ton of walking in Kona in between meetings. I also volunteered in the Ironman triathlon medical tent during race day and enjoyed caring for many exhausted athletes. Being here in Kona during this week gave me a lot of motivation to work on my personal fitness and get out and walk even more! Hopefully it will inspire you get outside, get moving, and walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Walk on!