As a sports medicine specialist, I get the opportunity to travel a lot with my work, doing what I call “talking the walk” at workshops for other health care professionals. In late April 2011, I chaired a conference for several hundred primary care physicians in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During one of my seminars, I urged these doctors to literally start prescribing walking to their patients as front line medication, even before considering prescribing pills. That’s because nothing we can prescribe has a better influence on health than regular walking.
However, what struck me most about this particular trip was not “talking the walk,” but actually being able to go out and walk myself. Even before this trip, I’d willingly admit, walking in a city like Las Vegas can be a challenge.
However, I still maintain that one of the best things about walking is that you can pretty much do it wherever you are, even on the Las Vegas Strip.
If you frequent Las Vegas yourself, you know what I mean. “The Strip” is where tourists spend most of their time, and it is constantly packed with people. The sidewalks can be narrow, the streets are congested, and the weather can be extremely hot or extremely windy or both. But if you take challenges like this in stride, and maintain a sense of humor, you can make even this desert walk enjoyable.
First off, let’s talk about the people watching. Oh, the people watching. Vegas is a place like no other, and consequently, the people who are attracted to Las Vegas are…like no others. Plus, you are almost guaranteed to spot an Elvis impersonator if you walk long enough.
If you’re focused on getting a balanced work out, the crowded sidewalks and frequent street crossings offer opportunities to stop and stretch for a minute or two.
What’s that you say? Not ready to brave the desert elements? Let’s not forget the behemoth, climate-controlled hallways and corridors that are a hallmark of Las Vegas hotels. At this conference, the walk from my room to the conference center took about 10 minutes each way. If you were walking alongside me, you could probably hear the internal cha-ching! in my head, as I banked 20 minutes towards my 30-minute walking goal for the day. Adding a quick out and back lunchtime jaunt outside, and my daily goal was met.
Wherever you happen to be, even where walking is a challenge, you can find creative ways to work it in and get your 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
So keep walking!