Medical Innovation: Mayo Physicians
Walk the Talk of Walking
Walk the talk.
Aphorism meaning practicing what you
We doctors often
preach the virtues of walking as the best form of exercise. Walking is easy on the joints. It’s natural. It costs
nothing. Anybody can do it. You don't have to sweat.
to walk is the problem. You may be glued
to your desk job. You may need to spend
hours in front of a computer or making phone calls or typing memos or e-mails.
But move you
must to stay fit. Move you must to improve
your health if you have heart disease, diabetes, or if you are obese. It’s best thing you can do for yourself. You’ve got two feet. Move them.
So we doctors
say. Mayo Clinic physicians are walking
the walk talk. “All businesses with
sedentary works should allow employees to use treadmill desks”, says former
Mayo CEO, James Levine, MD. Levine uses,
designs, and promotes treadmill desks. Wherever he works – at Scottsdale or
Rochester- he strolls on his treadmill
desk at 1 MPH. So do Mayo cardiologists
and radiologists. Another Mayo
physician, Denise Dupras, an internist, walks at her treadmill desk while
dictating, typing, or talking on the phone. Former Mayo CEO, now Director of Healthcare Delivery and Policy
at Arizona State University, has been
hard at work at his desk treadmill for over a decade. He walks and works at 1.7 MPH. He points out
you can buy a desk treadmill at Target for $799.
The desk treadmill
is not without critics. Some say it
may have legal liabilities – falling off or having a heart attack while treading. When Jeff Fidler, MD, Levine and others wrote
an article the Jounral of American Radiology in 2008, claiming that
radiologists have a 10% better detection rate in spotting clinically significant CT lesions,
one reader thought the article was “ a hoax,” put forth for comic
have become believers. When Cheryl Clark
wrote in a July 25 Healthleaders Media piece, “Physicians on Treadmill Diagnose
with Accuracy, Says Mayo Doctor,” she
went on built her own desktop treadmill, and typed the article while
strolling. She comments, “I’m walking as
I type this column. A few minutes in,
there’s a rhythmic, almost hypnotic effect on ability to focus.”
to news of the desk treadmill innovation is “Why not?” It addresses a clinical problem in a practical way. A sedentary lifestyle is a significant
impediment to good health.
of a talk I once read by Alistaire Cooke (1908-2004), the famed English journalist who
became an American citizen, when he was invited to address physicians at the Mayo Clinic.
Here is what he told his august audience,
explain the endurance, but cheerful survival of the British… I was bold enough
to offer an answer. Britain, I had noticed,
maintain rights-of-way across fields and meadows and builds footpaths alongside
highways, and uses the phase “Let's go for a walk” almost as an idiom. In
American you cannot walk across fields except in pursuit of a ball with a liquid
center, and there are no footpaths once the town ends. The British walk, and cycle and walk, even in
the rain. Let us face it, gentlemen, I said– “They function!” Could it be, I wondered – like Harvey groping
towards the theory of the circulation of the blood – could it be that lumps of
cholesterol could be shaken loose from the walls of the arteries by a lively bloodstream,
as rocks and weeds are carried away by a river in flood? Perhaps the secret of avoiding blood clots lay
in the humble admonition of the London bobby” “Keep moving!”
Tweet: At the Mayo Clinic, past and present physicians keep the blood moving and
stay fit by walking and working at treadmill desks.
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