The first-ever “Walk with a Doc” program in Lincoln County is taking place Saturday morning at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, allowing citizens the opportunity to get some exercise while discussing their medical concerns with local physicians.
Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute adopted the nonprofit, international program in 2011 to help encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and it is now expanding to Lincoln County.
Karen Cloninger, a physician with the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute–Lincolnton, told the Times-News on Monday that the program gives patients the chance to interact with doctors in a more casual setting.
“We’re excited to get it started here,” she added, noting that Lincolnton is the only location in the region outside of Charlotte participating in the program.
In addition to Cloninger, three other physicians will take part in Saturday’s “Walk with a Doc” program, including Sanjeev Shah.
“The program allows our patients, their families and any community members to improve their health and well-being while engaging in conversation with the physicians at CMC-Lincoln,” Shah said in a press release about the event.
Designed to promote better relationships between doctors and their patients outside of the usual 15-minute appointment, the event Saturday will begin with an introduction by the participating physicians outside the CMC-Lincoln Medical Plaza, followed by roughly 30 minutes of walking around the trail at the facility, said Cloninger.
Healthy snacks and refreshments will also be available. Additionally, the first 50 participants will receive T-shirts.
“Walk with a Doc” is done on a monthly basis in Charlotte. How many local events are scheduled for next year will depend on the response from Saturday’s event, in addition to another scheduled for October 27, Cloninger noted.
Jordan Frye, senior marketing coordinator at CMC-Lincoln, told the Times-News that she believes the event will be well-received locally since it’s a smaller community.
According to the American Heart Association, even moderate-level activities offer health benefits, and walking helps reduce risk factors for heart disease.
As noted in a CMC-Lincoln press release, walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can:
Walking is low-impact exercise, easier on the joints and is safe for people with orthopedic ailments, heart conditions and those who are more than 20 percent overweight — and will often lead to other health improvements, the release stated.
The “Walk with a Doc” program will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.