Sometimes exercise really can be a walk in the park.

On Wednesday, September 24, staff and patients from the Thames Valley Family Health Team’s Old South site (460 Springbank Drive) will put on their walking shoes and head for Springbank Park, joining Dr. Dorli Herman on a walk to promote health and fitness.

The walk will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Participants can choose one of three courses varying in length from one to two kilometres.

“We can’t just talk the talk on being active,” Dr. Herman says. “Exercise is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to maintain physical and mental health, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Walking can help people lose weight, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve cardiovascular health and endurance. All of those things can help prevent serious illness and improve quality of life.”

The walk is meant to draw attention to the HealtheSteps program – an initiative offered at several Thames Valley sites that encourages patients to take responsibility for their fitness and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.

“HealtheSteps is all about taking small steps to improve overall fitness, both physical and mental,” Dr. Herman says. “It teaches patients about exercise and diet, and lets them go at their own pace. It’s a great way to get them thinking about being more active, and to give them tools they can use to improve their health.”

HealtheSteps is a very personalized program. Patients undergo a basic assessment to measure factors like weight, resting heart rate, and blood pressure, and then are prescribed an exercise program based on activities that interest them. They return for regular follow-up assessments to see how they are improving, and to alter their prescriptions where necessary.

“HealtheSteps includes an accountability factor,” Dr. Herman says. “We give patients specific targets to shoot for, which provides extra motivation to stick with it. In the end, though, exercise should be fun. That’s why we encourage patients to get involved in things they like doing, whether it’s walking, doing fitness classes, playing sports, or even dancing. They key is to be active regularly.”

To learn more about HealtheSteps, visit .

About the Thames Valley Family Health Team

The Thames Valley Family Health Team is one of the largest family health teams in Ontario. With more than 100 physicians across 15 sites within London/Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin counties, the Thames Valley Family Health Team is committed to providing comprehensive, collaborative primary health care to over 150,000 patients.

Family health team staff includes nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians, and other health care professionals who work with physicians as an interdisciplinary team, with members using their experience and skills to provide patient-centred care.

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