​​​For years, health officials have talked about the importance that a physically active lifestyle plays on a person’s general well-being. But with a new program, part of a partnership between UK Health & Wellness and the Gill Heart Institute, members of the health community are not only going to talk the talk, they are going to walk the walk – and they want you to tag along.

Members of the UK and Lexington community as a whole are invited to join Dr. Alison Bailey, an associate professor of medicine and director of Ambulatory and Preventative Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Gill Heart Institute, on a twice-a-month, 30-minute walk as part of the “Walk with a Doc” campaign. The UK initiative is part of a national program, and local routes include the UK Arboretum and UK campus.

“The program is designed to promote the importance of physical activity and our health,” Bailey said. “I spend a lot of time in the preventative world telling my patients how important daily physical activity is, but if a patient sees that you are actually living that life, they are much more likely to do it.”

Bailey said that just 30 minutes of daily physical activity can have dramatic effects on a person’s health, including a reduction in blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast and colon cancer; an increased likelihood of weight loss and the ability to maintain that weight loss; as well as improved mental health, with a reduction in the instances of depression and anxiety. “Just about everything you can think of,” she said.

Jody Ensman, the UK Health & Wellness Program Manager, says she hopes the informal nature of the group walk will encourage participants to engage in conversations with Bailey or herself about personal health during the stroll.

This Walk with a Doc program is the first time Health & Wellness has partnered with the Gill Heart Institute, and Ensman believes it will be a successful union for both organizations, as well as for anybody who participates.

I felt our partnership with Gill Heart would be extremely beneficial not only for the partnership itself, but for the UK community and the Lexington community, because it is open to anyone in the area who would want to come to this walk,” she said.

The next Walk with a Doc excursion is at 12 p.m. May 30. Participants will meet at the corner of Rose Street and Washington Avenue on the UK campus. Other scheduled walks are: June 12, July 10 and July 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Arboretum, and at noon June 27 on UK campus.

Please visit our Walk with a UK Doc website here for more information or to receive notifications and reminders.

​By Robbie Clark