Dr Nick Johnstone, a semi-retired GP, will lead a ‘Walk with a Doc-Lancaster’ programme which is aimed at local people who do not take regular exercise, allowing them to improve their health and wellbeing.
The Lancaster walks are free and will take place every Tuesday from 11am starting at the Lancaster side of the Millennium Bridge. The first walk will take place on Tuesday 12 July and participants are asked to meet at the same time and location as above. A poster about the walks can be found here.
A taster session where people can talk to Dr Johnstone and learn more about Walk with a Doc- Lancaster will be held on Sunday 10 July as part of the Bay Health Festivals at Dalton Square, Lancaster, from 10am.
Dr Johnstone, who retired from his role as Partner at Queen Square Medical Practice in March, works at a mental health unit in Preston and is a volunteer for Adullam Charity in Lancaster which supports vulnerable individuals and people who are on the margins of society.
Walk with Doc was launched locally in Morecambe last summer and is led by Dr Phil Batty, of Bay Medical Group, and Bay Primary Care Network and Integrated Care Community. The walks take place every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Dr Johnstone said: “We wanted to set up a Walk with a Doc programme in Lancaster because it is quite a long way for people living in the city to get to the walks held in Morecambe, especially if they do not have access to a car or cannot afford public transport.
“The sessions will not only give people the opportunity to benefit from exercise but include a brief talk on a health-related topic, and informal access to a GP.”
The route for the walk will start at the Lancaster side of the Millennium Bridge and go up the River Lune alongside Sainsbury’s. It will continue on through Green Ayre and follow the cycle path to the aqueduct.
Dr Johnstone added: “We hope to run the sessions for a year and if they are successful we will look to continue them.
“I hope that people who don’t do any exercise will start to come for a walk once a week and that this will be the first step in making changes to their lifestyle.
“Walk with a Doc is not about being an athlete or super fit; all exercise is beneficial, and it is never too late to start.”
Walk with a Doc was started in 2005 by Dr David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio. Frustrated with his inability to affect behaviour change in the clinical setting, Dr Sabgir invited his patients to go for a walk with him in a local park on a spring Saturday morning. To his surprise, over 100 people showed up, energised and ready to move. You can find out more about Walk with a Doc at https://walkwithadoc.org/
You can find out more about Adullam Charity at https://www.adullam.org.u