Exercise is known to improve health in all kinds of ways, from strengthening bones and muscles to reducing one’s risk of various diseases.

To encourage better health habits such as regular exercise and healthy eating in her patients and others, Dr. Emma Bjore, a geriatrician at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, is bringing an international program to Wyoming for the first time.

Walk with a Doc helps patients stay active and healthy between doctor visits, Bjore said.

“I started a chapter during my fellowship in Denver and we had really good success with that,” she said. “We actually collected some data and found that patients who did our walks more regularly reported improved mood or better overall mood.”

She added the program also encouraged patients to take control of their health more generally.

“They also reported an increased level of physical activity outside of the walks, that they were setting personal goals in other health areas of their life and improving their health literacy,” Bjore said.

Though Bjore works exclusively with older adults in her practice, she said the program was geared toward anyone and everyone.

“This is an event for all ages and we encourage and welcome all ages,” she said. “We want to start instilling healthy lifestyle habits in our children and that’s so important. But we need to capture all age groups in our community.”

She added her patients, however, could especially benefit from the walk.

“Obviously, I’m very passionate about older adults,” Bjore said. “And I hope that they show up in droves to this event, because we know that physical activity and exercise can help that population reach their health goals as far as avoiding a decrease or minimizing a decrease in functionality, decreasing fall risk, decreasing depressive symptoms.”

Bjore said she hopes to grow the local chapter to host two walks a month, with other health care providers from across the community — and across disciplines — pitching in.

“While the program is called Walk with a Doc, because it’s catchy and cute, I really want it to be ‘Walk with your Interdisciplinary Medical Team,’” she said.

The first walk takes place from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Arena-Auditorium. The event will include a mini-lecture on health, a warm-up, the walk itself and healthy snacks provided by the IMH Wellness Committee.

The event is free to the public. Call IMH Marketing at 755-4602 for more information.

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