Doctors walk the fitness talk with their patients
Four doctors and five staff members at Fontaine Primary Care in Harwich participated in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People end of the season 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The Run/Walk began at Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham and looped through nearby roads and trails.
Primary care physicians Jane Craig, MD, Li Li, MD, PhD, Diane Campbell, MD, and Brian Reagan, MD, took part in the event and were joined by Fontaine staff members John Besaw, NP; Jennifer De Young, LPN; Kristine Jardin, MA; Nancy Rosado, MA; and Margaret Malone.
“Dr. Thompson comes here a couple of days a week and I was talking to her about it,” said Dr. Craig, who is already a runner. “It’s just a great thing to get people exercising, so we thought we should get a little group together and have everyone just do it.”
Cardiologist Elissa Thompson, MD is the medical director of Healthy Parks, Healthy People, a collaboration between Cape Cod Healthcare and the Cape Cod National Seashore to get people walking for their health. This is their second annual 5K event. About 150 people participated last year, and 273 people, including 90 Cape Cod Healthcare employees came out this year.
“The idea for the 5K came about because we wanted to have a goal for our walkers to move through the summer season and we also wanted to raise awareness and funds in support of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit in Hyannis,” Dr. Thompson said. “HPHP administration is through Cardiac Rehab.”
Prior to the race, Dr. Craig said she planned to run the 5K, but Dr. Li said she would probably walk it. She prepared for the event by taking evening walks with her 14-year-old daughter.
“A lot of our patients are already walking there with their friends, so hopefully they will join us at the 5K,” Dr. Li said prior to the event. “It’s a good way to socialize and it’s all about training yourself to be healthy.”
Taking part in a 5K event requires a lot of preparation for those who are not competitive runners, Dr. Thompson said. With that in mind, the 5K is designed for both runners and walkers to appeal to people of all skill and fitness levels.
“When you are preparing you have to be mindful of how you need to add a little bit more exercise to your daily schedule to be ready for race day,” Dr. Thompson said. “We had a specialized training tool called Couch to 5K available online to show you how to train for a 5K run or walk over an eight to nine week time period. Each daily workout was designed to get you ready, and also learn to have exercise in your life as part of your daily hygiene – just like brushing your teeth.”
People of all ability levels participated, and organizers encouraged people to do it at whatever pace they were comfortable with. Dr. Craig pointed out you burn just as many calories walking 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) as you do running it.
“We’re just trying to get everyone to exercise more,” Dr. Craig said before the event. “We’re in the health field. We should be doing this. There’s no magic pill in medicine, but exercise comes the closest. If we can get everyone doing something that’s healthy for them it’s a good thing.”
For those who want to take the exercise beyond the weekend event, Dr. Craig recommended that they find a walking or running partner, because you are more apt to follow through if you have someone you are accountable to.
“You’ll leave yourself hanging but you don’t leave your friends hanging,” she said. “People know they should exercise, but it’s the first thing they drop when life is hectic. And it’s something that is for you most of the time and we tend to put everyone else ahead of ourselves. This is a good chance to do something for yourself, with your friends.”