From left, Boulder Comunity Health’s Betsy Duckett, RN; Dr. Nelson Trujillo, MD; and Gina Simmering, RN. Courtesy Boulder Community Health

BCH steps up with ‘Walk with a Doc’ Program encourages community to step out, exercise with physicians

Even if you can’t make it to one of Boulder Community Health’s “Walk with a Doc,” sessions, Dr. Nelson Trujillo believes you can still walk like a doc.

“Walking is the one thing that’s a constant to me,” said the BCH interventional cardiologist and the face of the hospital’s Walk with a Doc program. “A simple walk out your door every morning for 10 minutes and the walk back will get you off the hook.”

BCH, in partnership with Boulder Parks and Recreation, recently launched the physician-led walking program called Walk with a Doc, encouraging the local community to take steps toward better health. The program was initially started by an Ohio-based cardiologist, who like Nelson, was tired of intervening only when the tickers went bad and wanting to intervene before the problems began.

“While taking care of people when they are sick is important, it would be better if they didn’t’ get sick in the first place,” Trujillo said. “Our mission is to keep our community healthy, and this focus on prevention is something I’m very compassionate about.”

Walk with a Doc has become a bit of a national treasure, with more than 300 chapters created since Dr. David Sabgir of Columbus, Ohio, invited his patients to go for a walk with him in a local park on a spring Saturday morning in 2005. “To his surprise, over 100 people showed up, energized and ready to move,” notes the campaign’s national website.

In Colorado, the program is also beginning to take serious root: National Jewish Health and Denver Health have programs, as does UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. In Northern Colorado, Banner Health has run the program in the past and is considering starting it up again. The Lafayette Recreation Department has partnered in the past with Good Samaritan Medical Center to offer the program, as well.

Like the program founder, Trujillo said he was encouraged by the number, and diversity, of the people attending the first two walks.

“They’ve gone really well. We had 200 participants on our first one and more than 170 on our second,” Trujillo said. “We’ve had some young kids, families and babies in strollers. I think the oldest participant was 88, but we’ve had all types, and it warmed my heart to see the participation spanning all generations.”

Trujillo is leading the initial walks, which begin with short talk about walking benefits, followed by a short bit of stretching. Trujillo said the walks typically are done on figure 8 tracks, which allows participants to walk at their own speed while organizers can easily keep track of everyone.

The Sept. 9 walk will be about controlling blood pressure, and the Oct. 14 walk about causes and risk factors regarding shortness of breath.

Trujillo said the walks typically are done on figure 8 tracks, which allows participants to walk at their own speed while organizers can easily keep track of everyone.

Trujillo isn’t kidding about the 20-minute morning walk, which is his own routine when not able to work on martial arts. He noted that many busy people, including himself, really struggle to get in the 150 minutes of recommended weekly cardiovascular exercise.

Beyond that, people often look past the simple fact that we were built to walk, not necessarily to run or lift weights, he said.

“We were designed to walk around at about 3½ miles an hour looking for food,” Trujillo said. “Doing that daily is not only important for our cardiovascular system, but even for our brains and keeping our bones sound. I think it’s a return to who we were.”

In fact, walking is often a good exercise simply because it doesn’t stress joints like other exercise routines, such as running. Of course, sometimes that feels less than fashionable in a town like Boulder.

“The fact that people in Boulder are so active is sometimes a barrier to others,” he said. “You can really be intimidated by the athleticism of the community, but we can’t all be biking 100 miles a day or running the Leadville 100.

“You can get a lot of health benefits out of regular walking. You get a lot of bang for your buck.”

Even if you can’t make it to one of Boulder Community Health’s “Walk with a Doc,” sessions, Dr. Nelson Trujillo believes you can still walk like a doc.

“Walking is the one thing that’s a constant to me,” said the BCH interventional cardiologist and the face of the hospital’s Walk with a Doc program. “A simple walk out your door every morning for 10 minutes and the walk back will get you off the hook.”

BCH, in partnership with Boulder Parks and Recreation, recently launched the physician-led walking program called Walk with a Doc, encouraging the local community to take steps toward better health. The program was initially started by an Ohio-based cardiologist, who like Nelson, was tired of intervening only when the tickers went bad and wanting to intervene before the problems began.

“While taking care of people when they are sick is important, it would be better if they didn’t’ get sick in the first place,” Trujillo said. “Our mission is to keep our community healthy, and this focus on prevention is something I’m very compassionate about.”

Walk with a Doc has become a bit of a national treasure, with more than 300 chapters created since Dr. David Sabgir of Columbus, Ohio, invited his patients to go for a walk with him in a local park on a spring Saturday morning in 2005. “To his surprise, over 100 people showed up, energized and ready to move,” notes the campaign’s national website.