Highlighting Minneapolis

Join Walk With a Doc in Minnesota to Stay Active

Posted on 03/31/24 by The AARP Bulletin

If people need an extra incentive to take a walk, chatting with a doctor might be the solution.

That is the idea behind Walk with a Doc, an international program that AARP Minnesota has recently brought to the Twin Cities. On the third Saturday of each month, anyone can join in a group walk with Nana Wilmot-DeSouza, M.D., at the Mall of America in Bloomington.

The walks will move outside once the temperature warms up.

Walk with a Doc
April 20, 9-10 a.m.
Wabun Picnic Area
4655 46th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

“When we tell a patient to exercise or eat better, what does that mean if I’m not showing you or living it out with you?” says Wilmot-DeSouza, a family physician in Prior Lake who is also board-certified in lifestyle medicine. “We should meet patients where they are.”

The format of Walk with a Doc is simple: The doctor gives a five- or 10-minute talk on a current health topic, and then participants walk their own distance at their own pace for about an hour inside the mall. The goal is to elevate the heart rate without gasping for breath. The doctor bounces from group to group to chat and answer questions.

“Walking is one of the most underrated exercises there is,” Wilmot-DeSouza says. “But walking every day has great cardiovascular benefits.”

Walk with a Doc has more than 400 chapters in the U.S. The median age of walkers is about 60, says Rachael Habash, its chief operating officer.

“We live in a very sedentary society,” Habash says. “Walking is a simple thing.”

The walking groups also offer social connection and a chance to enjoy the outdoors.

Go to aarp.org/MNevents to register for AARP’s Walk with a Doc group in the Twin Cities. Go to walkwithadoc.org to learn more about the program, including how to find an existing group or start one in your area.

—David Lewellen

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