AMANDA FLORES / Coachella Unincorporated
COACHELLA — Eastern Coachella Valley residents are getting an opportunity to exercise alongside local physicians thanks to the Walk with a Doc program, a program dedicated to encouraging physical activity in order to improve the health of communities.
Dr. Chris Flores, a family care physician with a private practice in Palm Desert, Calif., started the Walk with a Doc chapter in Coachella two years ago in an effort to increase community interest in exercising.
The Walk with a Doc program takes place every fourth Saturday of the month at the Las Flores Park in Coachella, Calif. All Coachella Valley residents are encouraged to participate in the free program.
Dr. Flores’s goal is to give the community a, “chance to build a culture of health in the Coachella Valley.” By starting a Walk with a Doc chapter in Coachella, Flores hoped the walks would give Coachella residents an opportunity to realize the significance of incorporating exercise into their lifestyle in order to be healthy. Flores said being healthy is not just getting regular medical exams, but it is, “what we do with our life every day that makes us healthy.”
Dr. Ashraf Zadshir, a family care physician at Borrego Springs Health Clinic in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., joined Dr. Flores for his event in May to help encourage Coachella Valley residents to be active.
“The change of lifestyle is the first step that each and every one of us can do in an effort to improve health” said Zadshir. Several other representatives from the Borrego Community Health Foundation also walked alongside Dr. Flores in support of his event.
Walk with a Doc began in Cleveland, Ohio and was organized by cardiologist David Sabgir, who wanted to improve the health and wellbeing of not only his patients but also his community.
In an effort to help his patients get consistent exercise, Dr. Sabgir decided to walk with his patients as a way to encourage healthy physical activity. He set up Walk with a Doc as a 2.2-mile hike through Sharon Woods Metro Park on April 9, 2005.
Participants, Ed and Mary Heilman, joined the Coachella Walk with a Doc event in May, and said they very much enjoyed the camaraderie that was displayed by other participants at the event.
“There are many benefits to exercising. And a simple walk is an activity that can help make you feel better,” Mary Heilman said.
Hector Baeza and his daughter Ana Baeza, who reside in Coachella, were happy that the event was brought to the eastern Coachella Valley.
“It is important that we, as parents, set an example for our children so that they may be more active and begin to create a healthy lifestyle for themselves,” Hector Baeza said.
Dr. Flores believes that all forms of exercise can not only combat health conditions and diseases but it can efficiently improve your physical and mental well-being. Flores said, exercise can, “make a huge difference in the overall health of the community.”
Though the Walk with a Doc program is normally on Saturday mornings, due to the summer heat, the next Walk with a Doc event is planned for Thursday, June 25 at 6:30 pm at the Rancho Las Flores park in Coachella. Visit www.walkwithadoc.org for more information.