In late November 2012 my travels took me to Las Vegas, Nevada to take part in the Rock & Roll Half Marathon and to give a talk at the race expo. This is a great event with close to 40,000 participants. The expo was packed with runners there to look at the latest in running shoes, gear and nutritional products. They also have a main stage with a variety of speakers over 2 days and I was there to speak and answer questions on common nutritional and medical problems that endurance athletes face. I also stressed that the most important part of participating in an event like a marathon or half marathon is the training done to prepare for it, rather than the event itself.

I am amazed how signing up to participate in an event like this can motivate so many people to be active. It really was quite inspiring. There was a broad range of ages and ethnic groups there for the race and all different fitness levels. From the elite runner to the slow walker, everyone was there to enjoy being physically active. I was struck by how many people are there to simply walk. Did you know you burn the same calories by walking a mile that you do by running a mile? It just takes longer to burn the calories by walking, but the benefits to health are the same.

It occurred to me that if I could get all of my patients to sign up for an event like this, my job would be so much easier. I have observed first hand that my patients who walk daily are much healthier and tend to come in less often. They are also much less likely to suffer from chronic disease and less likely to need to take medication. My goal as a physician is to convince all of my patients to do regular exercise – to get Every Body to Walk!

So consider signing up for a race in your area. I think it is a great motivator to keep you active and have fun while doing it, especially if you sign up for the race with a friend. Remember that regular exercise will not only add years to your life, but it will also add life to your years.

Keep on walking!