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Improving health in the community is a priority for Kaiser Permanente Georgia, as described in the following article by Dr. Rob Schreiner, their executive medical director. Kaiser Permanente Georgia donated $2.5 million for the construction of the soon-to-open Eastside Trail. They have also launched the Every Body Walk app (found in the Apple App Store or Google Play) to help you keep track of your own walks, calories burn, goals, and more – on the Atlanta BeltLine or anywhere! The dedication for the Eastside Trail will be held on October 15 at 10 a.m.
Balancing work, play, and health
Guest blog post by Dr. Rob Schreiner
The work week can be both rewarding and exhausting. For me, it involves navigating traffic to and from my Buckhead office, where I spend 50-60 hours helping a health care organization and its members thrive. I carve out time for my family and —if I’m particularly efficient—prepare meals, weed the garden and catch an NFL game on Sunday afternoon. Each day starts before sunrise and ends at some point during the 10 o’clock newscast. And yet, when I stepped on the scale a few months ago, it was evident that I was not doing enough.
As a physician, I know that physical activity is a critical determinant of my overall health. I can’t turn on the TV without seeing a Kaiser Permanente ad encouraging people to be active, eat healthier or get preventive care. I even had the pleasure of presenting the Atlanta BeltLine with a $2.5 million donation from Kaiser Permanente to fund construction of the Eastside Trail, helping provide metro Atlantans a safe place to exercise. So, I decided to re-commit to an exercise regimen and change my diet. I would walk at least 40 minutes a day, five days a week and reduce my caloric intake.
Recommitment and Discipline
Daily exercise requires discipline and dedication, but no more than what an executive or employee already gives their company each week. Taking the time for morning aerobic exercise gives me a surge of energy that lasts for hours and clears my mind. Some of the largest leadership challenges I’ve faced were solved during a walk or run.
As for the health benefits, walking burns calories, lowers blood pressure, strengthens the heart and bones, improves balance and tones muscles. I find that the discipline gained from a walking regimen carries over to my diet, and I make smarter food choices. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, resulting in stress reduction. I sleep better at night. And I’ve shed 15 pounds—30 more to go!
Playing well with others
Everybodywalk.org—powered by Kaiser Permanente—is a great resource to find walking and running clubs in your community. A free app is also available to track your routes and locate trails using an interactive map. If you prefer more creative forms of exercise, consider step aerobics, yoga or Tai Chi. Kaiser Permanente offers free classes to the public for free at several medical centers across metro Atlanta. Log on to www.kp.org/classes for a full list of course offerings, which also include The Art of Healthy Cooking, Adult Weight Management and Essentials of Stress Reduction. [Download the Every Body Walk app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.]
The latest statistics show that two thirds of Georgians are overweight or obese, placing us at high risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. Your chances of experiencing a stroke, heart attack, certain cancers and dementia are all increased by obesity. Successful business leaders use facts and reasoning to identify problems (too many calories in, too little out), create a solution (eat less, exercise more), then execute. When addressing the problem of obesity, it’s that last part that vexes us.
Whether it’s a morning jog, an afternoon walk or an evening exercise class, find your thing and schedule time to work up a sweat during the work week—at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. It will only enhance your productivity and quality of life.
Dr. Rob Schreiner has been the executive medical director for Kaiser Permanente Georgia since 2008.