Walking is considered one of the best and simplest forms of exercise which can be done by all. Patients with chronic ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension etc., are recommended to walk as a form of exercise daily. Keeping in line with this, GOQii, the Health and Lifestyle start-up is launching a 10-year-old international movement called ‘Walk with a Doc’ (WWAD), a unique physician-led walking program focusing on encouraging physical activity among patients.
Dr Aashish Contractor, widely recognised as the pioneer of cardiac rehabilitation is kick-starting the first edition of WWAD in Mumbai on June 18, 2017, from NCPA at 7 am. Apart from GOQii, Dr Contractor is also supported in this initiative by his hospital Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital where he is currently, the head of Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. He is also the author of the book ‘The Heart Truth’.
The 40-minute long walk will start at 7 am from NCPA and cover a distance of 5 KMs on Marine Drive and end at NCPA at 8 am. This walk will be followed by a summation by Dr Contractor.
Each local walk will be hosted by a doctor, in addition to the health benefits that everyone enjoys just by walking, the doctors also get a chance to talk their patients while they walk. The movement first started in the United States 10- years ago by Dr David Sabgir, a Mount Carmel Cardiologist from Ohio.
In the US Dr Sabgir started this movement based on his own learnings from observing patients in his clinic for over a decade. As a cardiologist, he thought he was doing everything he could to help his patients. He spent extra time during appointments, listening to their issues and giving advice on how to live a healthier life. But in his own words “In the end, I just wasn’t successful at encouraging them to get out there and get physically active.”
Heart disease is the number one killer in America and India is no different. Recently, in an interview with GOQii, Dr Contarctor says, “Heart Disease is the leading cause of death among men and women worldwide and even in India”. Both Dr Sabgir and Dr Contractor believe that 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable with more exercise and simple lifestyle changes.
Yet, Sabgir found that only five percent of his patients were getting the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. He was frustrated, so one day he asked a few patients to meet him and his family in the park to take a walk. That was the first Walk in 2005 where 101 people showed up. After ten years, there are 301 WWAD chapters spread across 44 states in the USA averaging 25 walkers per walk; which are done weekly / bi-weekly/ monthly by doctors.
“We are ecstatic that you are starting Walk with a Doc in India. We have been thrilled and humbled to see WWAD transform hundreds of new communities in the United States. The opportunity to collaborate with the great physicians of India is a tremendous honour that we will never take for granted,” says Dr Sabgir.
Talking about kick-starting the first walk in Mumbai, India, Dr Contractor says, “I advise my patients to instil the habit of healthy living, however, very few get motivated on their own. WWAD is a good concept and removes that barrier and makes healthy living a routine and fun. Therefore, when GOQii & WWAD- India chapter approached me to host the first edition of WWAD, I agreed. I have been regularly walking and running with my patients, WWAD is a new platform to do the same. I hope that through this program we will be able to inculcate healthy living as part of daily routine of the people.”
From GOQii’s perspective, the health start-up has been advocating healthy living and preventive healthcare. “We felt that this collaboration will compliment us in our vision to create a healthier society. I am thankful to Dr Contractor who agreed to spearhead the first edition in India,” says Vishal Gondal, Founder and CEO, GOQii Technologies Inc.
Walk with a Doc has already helped thousands commit to a healthy lifestyle in the USA and today the movement has reached 6 countries and India being the 7th.