On exercise: are doctors practicing what they preach?

October 28, 2008 by  

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They are just like the rest of us. They have jobs, they have families, kids, and pets to take care of. And most often their jobs are much more demanding than those of ordinary folks like you and me. They might need to travel, work night shifts, or on weekends. They are our doctors and sometimes we wonder, with their full and hectic schedules, whether they have the time to practice what they preach, e.g. do they do exercise? And if yes, how do they find the time?

heartwire interviewed several cardiologists and other doctors whether they exercise and most of the answer is “yes”.

They were also asked details about their exercise routines and why they exercise.

Why exercise?

Here is what several doctors say:

  • A doctor can communicate and connect better with his patients about exercise based on his or her personal experience.
  • An exercising doctor can transmit his or her passion and enthusiasm for exercise to the patients.
  • Exercise helps a doctor to concentrate on the job.
  • Exercise keeps a doctor healthy.
  • Exercise helps a doctor clear his/her mind work off some stress.
  • Exercise can help perform a job effectively. For an electrophysiologist, for example, exercise helps “maintain endurance for long EP cases and the flexibility needed for wearing lead for hours.”

Which exercise?

The routines the doctors followed were kind of varied as described below.

  • Dr Valentin Fuster of Mount Sinai School of Medicine is an avid cyclist and tackles the stages of Tour de France and other challenging cycling competitions.
  • Dr Peter Gallagher, an electrophysiologist at the Nebraska Heart Institute, runs and does stretches.
  • Dr Roger Blumenthal of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute keeps fit through golf and keeping up with his kid’s sports activities, from lacrosse, to basketball.
  • Dr Jon Resar also of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute runs about five miles daily, six times a week outdoors. He has his dog to keep him company on his early morning runs.
  • Dr Christopher Cannon of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA works out indoors every morning for 30 minutes with different machines, from stationary cycle to weights.
  • Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley of TJ Sampson Community Hospital, Glasgow, KY goes for the treadmill, the elliptical machine, and the cycle.

As one of the experts say

I do think it’s a little hypocritical of a cardiologist who is not taking care of himself to ask patients to stay active.

Well, what about me?

I am not a cardiologist but time and time again, I’ve emphasized the importance of exercise in my posts. Do I practice what I advocate? Well, I definitely try. I jog outside 3 to 4 times a week, 30 to 60 minutes. My family and I go for long walks or hikes in the mountains and forests. I firmly believe in the health benefits of exercise and I live it.

Watch out for a resource post on exercise here.


Photo credit: lovleah at stock.xpert

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