Posted on September 21, 2018
In an effort to get people up and moving, health care professionals from around El Dorado will be hosting the Walk with a Doc event next week.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on Sept. 29 at the Union County Fairgrounds. While the local effort started in January, this will be the first weeklong series in El Dorado.
“We decided to expand it, invite more doctors and health practitioners. We’re having this kind of a kickoff for a whole week and we’re encouraging other people — patients, neighbors, friends and everybody — to come walk with us.” Dr. Ivory Kinslow, one of the participating doctors, said. “It’s not a race or anything. It’s just a chance for us couch potatoes like me to get out and walk, have some fresh air and talk with your doctor and ask them questions.
The Walk with a Doc program started in 2005 in Columbus, OH by cardiologist David Sabgir. According to the program’s official website, Sabgir was frustrated with the inability to affect behavior change in his patients. He wanted to get them more active, but wasn’t finding it successful to do so in a clinical setting. He decided to start inviting his patients to go for a walk with him at one of the local parks on a Saturday morning. Over 100 people showed up that day and seeing the response inspired him to grow the effort. There is now over 400 chapters worldwide who participate monthly.
At each event, a local doctor gives a brief presentation on a health topic and then leads participants to walk at their own pace.
It is also customary for healthy snacks to be available for the walkers. Snacks at the El Dorado event are supplied by the Veggie Club.
The El Dorado Walk with a Doc is one of two official walks that take place in Arkansas. It was started by Dr. James Sheppard, a local family medicine doctor at Medical Center of South Arkansas.
Since January, the event has been taking place once a month, but this is the first month that will include a week of events. Kinslow said this comes from wanting to expand the program and get more people involved in walking. She also said this comes from wanting to help people develop a pattern of activity, which can be challenging when an event is only happening once a month.
Kinslow said that while this is a one-time event and the normal events are once a month, the doctors involved are interested in expanding it in the long term to happen closer to once a week so that it can be easier for patients to get involved.
The event will start Monday night at 6 at the Union County Fairgrounds and will continue at the same time until Friday Sept.
The week will conclude with an early morning walk on Sept. 29, which starts at 9 and a pot luck lunch at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall. The lunch is all plantbased. Participants don’t need to bring any of food, although they are welcome to bring a plant-based dish, but a small donation is appreciated.
Kinslow said there is a variety of health reasons for people to get active, even walking for 30 minutes a day can show benefits such as improved lung health, increased circulation and reduced risk of heart attack.
One thing that Kinslow emphasized was that participants aren’t expected to walk the whole time.
“We want to invite everybody,” Kinslow said. “It is important that people can come and walk for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, whatever they’re comfortable with.”
Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or mshine@ eldoradonews.com . Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.