Health: The habit of physical activity

How do we acquire our habits?

Often it is from the standard set by those around us.

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If your friends each have more than three alcoholic drinks in one day when you go out on the weekend, you might think that’s normal and healthy (If you do, it’s not. Ask your doctor or your liver.)

If your friends and family are couch potatoes, you are more likely to be one too. And it’s not because it’s contagious or genetic (unless your dad really is a potato).

My role models for physical activity were my parents.

My dad was very athletic and trained us in the fundamental movement skills of throwing, catching, jumping, running, agility (balance and coordination), kicking and striking (balls but not each other). He has shown us from our toddler years into his 80s that a variety of physical activity is a fundamental key to healthy living. Always a do-it-yourselfer, he continues to do his own house and yard work.

My mom — when she wasn’t cooking, cleaning and running errands for the rest of us — exercised daily. This included aerobics classes, tai chi, bowling and line dancing.

Fast walking was always a part of my parents’ active lifestyle.

To help more people in our communities acquire the habit of being physically active, Doctors of B.C. has organized Walk With Your Doc events throughout the province. The doctors who treat you in their clinics and hospitals are now your role models in the community. We really do walk the talk!

During the week of May 9 to 17, doctors throughout British Columbia will be promoting physical activity in a variety of community events.

On Saturday, May 9, we’ll kick off the week with a free and fun 2 km walk at Kitsilano Beach Park at 10 a.m. As the event’s emcee, I’ll be there with many of my colleagues along with our patients.

Even if your doctor isn’t there, you’re welcome to attend. All members of the public are invited, but come early to get your free pedometer. For more information about this event, check online at

To celebrate the World Health Organization’s Move for Health Day on Sunday, May 10 (Mothers’ Day), many cities are hosting a variety of activities in local parks and recreation centres. To find out more, check out your community’s recreation facilities.

Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician and Physician Lead of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice. You can read more about achieving your positive potential in health at

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