Take a walk through metropark with the best possible walking buddy

Englewood MetroPark will host its second Walk with a Doc program on March 25. CONTRIBUTED
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Englewood MetroPark will host its second Walk with a Doc program on March 25. CONTRIBUTED

Improving your overall health and fitness level might be as simple as spending more time in the great outdoors and less time in the waiting room.

The United States Surgeon General recognized walking as one of the single most important things people can do for their health and promoted it with the “Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities” program.

Local organizations are doing their part to motivate people to lace up their walking shoes. Five Rivers MetroParks, in conjunction with Dayton Children’s and Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton, is offering a program that connects medicine and nature. “Walk with a Doc” is designed to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages. Participants can spend time with a local physician and improve their overall fitness without making an appointment.

“This effort fits in well with our mission and that of the Leave No Child Inside initiative,” said Doug Horvath, MetroParks education coordinator. “The doctor is another voice from the community that people trust.”

The next Walk with a Doc event is slated for March 25 at Englewood MetroPark.

“One of our roles has been to encourage them to locate at park facilities with nature play nearby,” Horvath said. “We know how beneficial nature play is.”

According to Horvath, the benefits of nature play can run the gamut from helping to mitigate hyperactivity to improving eye development and creating a greater sense of inquiry.

Walk with a Doc got its start in 2005 with Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist from Columbus, who had a strong desire to effect behavior change in his patients. A decade later, the program stretches from coast to coast. A few local practices host Walk with a Doc events in addition to this new MetroParks program.

“The walk encourages people to get outside and connect to nature, and allows physicians to engage with community members while being active,” said Lauren Lemons, MetroParks community engagement coordinator. “Dayton Children’s physicians will be available to answer questions during the program, so it’s a great opportunity for parents and families.”

The walks are designed with adults and children in mind along easily navigable MetroParks trails. Horvath is hopeful that the program will extend throughout the year and incorporate other MetroParks facilities around the Miami Valley.

While the benefits of walking are plentiful, the benefit of a newfound appreciation of the great outdoors is priceless.

“It opens up a lifetime of free entertainment,” Horvath said with a smile.

WALK WITH A DOC

What: A guided hike with a local physician sponsored by Five Rivers MetroParks, Dayton Children's and the Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton

When: March 25, 10 a.m.

Where: Englewood MetroPark, Patty Shelter

Free and open to the public

WHY WALK?

Walking can:

  • Lower LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
  • Raise HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help manage weight
  • Improve mood
  • Increase strength and fitness level
  • Strengthens bones
  • Increases metabolism
  • Boosts energy
  • And more…