In mid April 2012 my travels took me to the beautiful island of Maui for the Kaiser Permanente National Primary Care Conference in Kaanapali. I gave several talks at this meeting, including one on our Kaiser Permanente Exercise Vital Sign (EVS). If you are a Kaiser patient, you will now be asked about your exercise habits at most every visit.

The reason we do this is because the evidence is clear that patients who walk are healthier. They are less likely to suffer from chronic disease and they live longer. The proven benefits of exercise are so strong, that we consider a patient’s exercise habits to be a vital sign – a key indicator of their health and risk for disease.

Multiple studies have suggested that adults should get 150 minutes or more moderate exercise each week, like a brisk walk. Kids on the other hand need more exercise and should strive for 60 minutes each day. So if you are not meeting these goals, your physician should be encouraging you to get out there and walk!

And this is why we created Every Body Walk! We wanted to start a national discussion about the benefits of walking and get all Americans to do it on a regular basis. As the nation’s largest healthcare organization, Kaiser Permanente has a huge stake in keeping America healthy. Keeping patients healthy is why doctors, nurses and other healthcare professions went into medicine and why we come to work every day. Exercise is arguably the most important medicine you can take to keep you healthy and your physician should be prescribing it to you at every visit. If they are not, you should ask them why!

During my stay in Maui, I spent a lot of time walking. Kaanapali beach has a great trail that runs right along the ocean and was perfect for my daily walks. There is nothing better than perfect temps and incredible scenery to help motivate you to walk; except maybe knowing that walking daily will help you stay around to see your kids grow up! That my friend’s is the best motivation of all.

Thanks again for reading this blog and please keep walking!