In early November of 2015 my travels took me to the beautiful Napa Valley for the Napa Primary Care Conference I chair each year. The theme of this conference is “Caring for the Active and Athletic Patient”, and it always includes a variety of talks on common medical and musculoskeletal issues that can bother people who are active. The goal of these talks is to provide cutting edge continuing medical education for doctors and other healthcare providers who care for active and athletic patients, with a specific emphasis on how to get and keep our patients active.
This year’s meeting included a variety of interesting topics ranging from the effect of exercise on the brain, to changing patients behavior in the clinical setting, to diagnosing and managing common medical and musculoskeletal problems. The audience seemed to really enjoy this range of topics and resonate with the need to do all we can to keep our patients moving. Because we know that exercise (and specifically walking) is like a medicine that all patients need to take to prevent chronic disease and maintain good health and quality of life. We also know that regular walking helps increase strength and endurance, that can help maintain and improve your functional capacity so that you can keep doing the things you want to do well in to your 80’s!
A passion of mine is to always combine medical education meetings with physical activity and other healthy pleasures. So while in Napa, I made sure to get out and walk every day and also sample the great wines that are readily available. And a perfect way for me to visit a winery is on a bike, which I did this year along with my good friends Dr. Fran O’Conner and Dr. David Sobel, who were both speaking at the conference. We enjoyed a very long ride along the Silverado Trail, which gave us excellent views of amazing vineyards and some of the top wineries in the world.
The conference also taught us that one of the keys to happiness and good health is to occasionally indulge in some healthy pleasures, like sampling some fine wine or great chocolate. Of course life is about moderation and these healthy pleasures (like exercise) can be bad for you when done in excess. The key is finding a healthy balance that can help lead you to good health. So for me, the recipe for good health includes walking 30 minutes per day, not smoking and eating a diet that mostly consists of fruits and vegetables. Convincing patients to follow this simple prescription will do more for health than all the pills and procedures being doled out by doctors around the world!
I hope this blog finds you in good health and sampling the various healthy pleasures that you most enjoy – like a good walk. Keep spreading the word on all the health benefits a good walk can bring, not to mention how much better it makes you feel.
Keep walking my friends!
Photo caption: “Cycling in Napa with Drs David Sobel (left) and Fran O’Conner (right)”