An internationally recognized health initiative is coming to Pictou County, and taking part is as easy as tying your shoes.
“I’m a believer that Physical activity is our best medicine,” says Dr. Brad MacDougall who, together with Active Pictou County have brought Walk with a Doc to the county.
Walk with a Doc was started in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, nearly 500 chapters have started up worldwide, including three others in Nova Scotia.
By connecting with Truro’s Walk with a Doc leader, Dr. Raj Makkar, both MacDougall and Active Pictou County coordinator, Sally O’Neill started getting the ball moving on starting the province’s latest chapter.
“It’s nice to belong to this big international team,” said O’Neill who has been working on the initiative all winter.
The program fits well with Active Pictou County’s mandate of creating opportunities and reducing the barriers to participation in Physical Activity, and for Dr. MacDougall it’s a perfect way to lead by example.
“It’s one thing to give exercise recommendations and advice, but to have the opportunity to join the community and ‘walk the walk’ is a whole other level,” said MacDougall in a press release.
Results from the Physical Activity Community Survey from 2014 show that walking is the most popular activity for people who want to get active and improve their health.
Unfortunately, that’s not always an easy thing for people to do safely, particularly in the winter months.
“Gym memberships can be expensive. It’s difficult to get out in the winter and a lot of people live rural,” said MacDougall in an interview outside the Wellness center.”
Another barrier is that a lot of people want someone to be active with. The survey results, which were updated in 2018, indicated that not having anyone to exercise with was a significant factor in keeping people inside.
Both MacDougall and O’Neill feel having health care professionals participating will give people the extra boost to come and join.
The walks will happen twice every month, with the first one scheduled on Saturday, March 16. It begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and will be indoors.
“Weather permitting, we’ll be moving outdoors as soon as we can,” said MacDougall.
All ages and abilities are welcome and a brief 10-minute talk on a health-related subject will follow.