Health and Happy Feet
Running Medicine, a fun, family-focused fitness program developed by University of New Mexico physician Anthony Fleg, is highlighted in the latest issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
Fleg, assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, created the program with colleagues from the Native Health Initiative. As he and his four co-authors emphasize in an Innovations in Primary Care note submitted to the journal, inclusion is a primary goal of the year-round program, now offered in six communities around New Mexico.
Participants include a diverse group of tribes and ethnicities, ages, fitness and ability levels. Running Medicine “celebrations” take place three to four times a week, starting with a meditation or inspirational message and dynamic stretches. People walk or run for 30 to 40 minutes, giving each other high fives and encouragement along the way.
According to the authors, participants say the top motivations for joining “are improving physical health, improving mental health, social support and a culturally grounded approach to exercise.”
Even better, they write, “Over 90% of our participants feel that the program improved their wellness in each of these domains.” And, they note, regular exercise “is an important complement to our high-cost, disease-oriented health care system.”