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The RAMble joins the community with VCU Health clinicians on a walk for wellness

Dec 12, 2017

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It was a crisp fall morning on Saturday, November 18 when Elizabeth Chenault and her mother Marion pulled up to the entrance to Stony Point Fashion Park. It was a perfect morning for sleeping in, so what brought them out before the mall even opened? Elizabeth’s primary care physician at VCU Women’s Health, Suzie Park, M.D., asked her to join her for The RAMble, a monthly walking program led by clinicians from VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Integrative Health program and VCU Women’s Health.

“I was talking to Dr. Park at a recent visit about some health concerns I had and how I was hoping to start some healthy habits and she suggested I come out to the RAMble,” said Elizabeth Chenault. “This is the second month my mother and I have walked with the program—it’s a little tough getting moving in the morning but we hold each other accountable and it’s really a great way to start your Saturday.”

The RAMble starts with a quick warm up and stretching period combined with a brief wellness talk by a health care professional. This morning, Deborah Koehn, M.D, primary care physician at VCU Women's Health and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine, discussed the "mindless margin," a concept from the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think. The idea is that there is a margin of about 100 calories that people slightly overeat or under eat without being aware of it. Being mindful of these calories can be key to losing or gaining weight.

“Added up, 100 calories a day equals about a pound of weight gain per month and 12 pounds throughout the year," said Koehn. "The challenge is to be mindful about that candy bowl at work or the extra sugar in your coffee, because for many people eliminating just 100 calories a day will make them healthier in the long run."

After the talk, the 34 participants set off at their own pace on a course around the perimeter of the mall. A group of clinicians from VCU Health and Massey walked with the group and were available for casual conversations with participants on topics ranging from their health to Thanksgiving and holiday plans. It would be hard to distinguish the clinicians from the rest of the participants if it weren’t for lanyards displaying “staff.”

“Many of our patients tell us that they want to lead a healthier lifestyle but they are intimidated by the thought of an exercise routine or a diet,” said Masey Ross, M.D., medical director of the Integrative Health program and a medical oncologist at Massey. “We started The RAMble as a way to support our patients and help them understand the impact that small lifestyle changes can make to their overall health.”

After several laps around the mall most of the participants headed back to the starting point to chat a bit longer before getting started on their Saturday. Some final questions were asked and many of the participants agreed they would be there next month with their friends and family in tow.

Anyone is welcome to participate in The RAMble. The group meets at the entrance to Stony Point Fashion Park by Panera Bread Company at 8:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month. For more information about the The RAMble or other resources available through Massey’s Integrative Health Program, call (804) 828-8478 or visit masseyintegrativehealth.org.

Written by: John Wallace

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