At the end of May 2014, my travels took me to Orlando, Florida and Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and 5th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine (EIM). This is the premier gathering in the world for sports and exercise medicine professionals and my favorite meeting of the year. It is a wonderful opportunity to see old friends from all over the globe and hear the latest science and practice recommendations in the field.
This year’s meeting was outstanding as usual and the highlight for me was a keynote talk given by our Acting United States Surgeon General, Dr. Boris Lushniak. You may recall that he recently took over for Dr. Regina Benjamin and has continued the great support for Every Body Walk! (EBW!) and EIM that she provided during her tenure. Dr. Lushniak’s talk was engaging and powerful and he stated unequivocally that in his opinion, “physical inactivity is the major public health problem in our country today!” I thought that was an extremely important statement coming from America’s top doctor. If our United States Surgeon General believes that physical inactivity is our biggest public health problem today, then it is clear that all health care providers should be promoting walking and other forms of exercise to our patients. It also highlights just how important it is for the health of our country to get Americans walking. And that just happens to be the stated mission of the Every Body Walk! Campaign.
The ACSM meeting this year was also special because it featured the EBW! Walking Challenge. As part of this challenge, over 500 ACSM attendees were given a Tractivity device to measure how much we walked. We were divided into eight teams, each led by an ACSM physician leader and after 2 full days the total steps walked were tabulated and the winning team was announced. I am happy to report my team finished a close second to the team led by my friend Dr. Angela Smith. The point of Challenge was to encourage physicians to walk the talk and lead the way in prescribing walking to our patients.
I came home from Orlando even more energized to continue spreading the word about the great health benefits of walking and to encourage all Americans to make it a habit they engage in daily. If we can accomplish this, we will improve the health in this country more than any clinic or hospital could ever hope to do. And if you don’t believe me, then please ask our Surgeon General!
So please keep walking and spreading the word to all your friends and family to join you in doing the same!
Best Wishes my friends!