Boulder Community Health: Walking as medicine

Doctors prescribe exercise for health benefits

BOULDER, Colo. — One of the best things about summer is spending time outside, and this week Boulder Community Health is promoting a great way to get fit, simply by walking.

"We started to start to debunk that idea that exercise has to be incredibly strenuous because we realized that that stigma does not help people get off the couch," said Dr. Sherrie Ballantine with the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center. "So, what we've tried to do is make exercise something anyone can do anywhere, and one of the easiest ways to do that is just going walking."

How much do you have to walk? Dr. Ballantine says studies show exercise is cumulative. You can get the same benefits from four 15-minute sessions that you would from an hour of sustained exercise.

If you have certain health issues, like high blood pressure, heart disease, or have recently suffered a heart attack, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. But walking can be a great way to bounce back when you've had a health issue. It can also improve mental health.

"I tell patients I'd rather tell you to exercise then prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication," Dr. Ballantine said.

Boulder Community Health offers monthly "Walk with a Doc" events that give people a chance to talk to a doctor about health issues that can benefit from walking.

Upcoming Walks/Talks:

July 14: Walking and Stroke Risk with Dr. Nelson Trujillo
Harlow Platts Park
1360 Gillaspie Drive in Boulder

August 11: Walking as Medicine (includes tips for walking as part of recovery from a health event such as injury, child birth, surgery) with Dr. Sherrie Ballantine
Tom Watson Park/Coot Lake
6180 63rd Street in Boulder

September 15: Walking and Fall Prevention with Dr. Elizabeth Lycett
East Boulder Community Park
5660 Sioux Drive in BoulderOctober 13: Walking and Cancer Prevention with Dr. Lori Jensen
North Boulder Park
2848 9th Street in Boulder

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