In late June 2012 my travels took me to Kelowna, BC to speak at the annual meeting of the Canadian Academy of Sports and Exercise Medicine. The meeting was held at the Hotel Grand Delta Okanagan Resort, located on beautiful Okanagan Lake. I was speaking as part of a fascinating session on Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease by encouraging patients to be more active.

Did you know that more people now die from chronic disease than any other illness? No longer are infectious diseases like TB, AIDS or pneumonia the leading causes of death in the world. They have been replaced by heart disease, stroke and diabetes as the leading killers. Did you also know that more people around the world now die from obesity than from hunger? These facts highlight the need for people to walk daily, because that is the one treatment that can help address all of these conditions.

For that reason, forward thinking physicians around the world are coming to the inevitable conclusion that we have got to get patients more active to help control the world-wide explosion of chronic disease. Sports medicine physicians are the specialty closest to the intersection of physical activity and health and have taken a leadership role around the world to promote the fact that Exercise Is Medicine. In fact, the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine recently changed its name to reflect its commitment to promoting physical activity for health by adding “Exercise” to its name, becoming the Canadian Academy of Sports and Exercise Medicine (CASEM).

The discussion at the CASEM meeting supported the fact that walking is the single best thing we can do to improve health around the world. That is why the Every Body Walk! initiative was started — to begin a national campaign to get American’s up and moving. And once we get America moving, we hope we can spread the walking message around the world. Certainly with the help of CASEM, our neighbors to the North will be on board and encouraging Every Body in Canada to Walk!

Of course, during my trip I got my walking in each day around Kelowna. Okanagan Lake was a beautiful back drop for my daily walks.

I hope you are finding the time and motivation to walk daily. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking on five or more days each week is all we are asking you to do. I promise it is the best investment you will ever make.

Keep walking!