Walk With a Doc draws crowd

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CORRECTION:  This article originally listed the event as running every second Friday when, in fact, it will take place every second Saturday.

It was standing room only as Sally O’Neill from Active Pictou County and Dr Brad MacDougall, from the Westville Clinic, addressed the 50 participants of the Walk With a Doc Pictou County kick-off.

MacDougall greeted everyone with a smile and a personal invitation to walk with the group and O’Neill was thrilled to see the turn-out.

With the help of Walk With a Doc Truro, Active Pictou County will be hosting a walk every second and fourth Saturday each month from 8:30 until 9:30 a.m. With inclement weather they partnered with the Pictou County Wellness Centre to use the indoor walking track but as the weather improves a different local trail will be used with each walk, and the health care professional hosting will change, too.

MacDougall stated in his brief overview, “We are the third chapter in Nova Scotia.” Sydney and Truro were the confirmed others but there is one in Guysborough.

“The purpose of our program is to break down barriers, get people out walking with health care professionals as members of the community, talking about health care issues or non-health care issues,” he said, joking he doesn’t mind talking about hockey. Each event will have another health care professional, including a pharmacist, physiotherapist, nurse, dentist and everything in between, giving a brief talk before the walk.

“The chapter in Truro was instrumental in helping us get this one started,” Sally O’Neill proudly highlighted. “We picked this time because of the success of the Truro chapter, who had success on Sunday mornings. You start the weekend off with something social and something active and then the reset of the day is yours.”

O’Neill went on to thank “Brad (MacDougall) and our amazing committee of doctors, and members of the health and medical community. We’ve partnered with the Wellness Centre who supported us to use the track, the YMCA in supporting us with meeting space. This is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing (on behalf of Active Pictou County and the five municipal units it encompasses), on behalf of the municipalities, the province and you.”

Walk With a Doc started in Columbus, Ohio by a cardiologist who, in 2005, wanted to inspire his community through movement and conversation. Through a recently conducted survey in the county and province at large, the trend was the same — people had the desire to walk but needed motivation and wanted a partner to walk with. This program solves both concerns and will start a weekend off well with some low-impact exercise all ages are welcome to do.

The Pictou County Wellness Centre encourages all abilities to get out by providing access to walkers for those who are not as mobile and trails chosen in future will be flat and accessible.

To ensure you know about the next event, like their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Walk-with-a-Doc-Pictou-County-1241909525961804/.

Dr. Brad MacDougall and Sally O’Neill, wearing blue Walk with a Doc T-shirts, loop the rink at the Pictou County Wellness Centre Saturday during the inaugural Walk With a Doc event.  (Butland photo)