Building Social Connections.

For most of us, the past 2 years have been incredibly stressful and we’ve had to endure a lot of change, often outside of our control. In practice, this has led to physicians seeing more and more people who have lost their social network as they have been isolating and spending more time working in a solitary environment.

No more “water cooler chat”, no more having quick little meetings in the hallways or popping in to see how your co-worker is doing. No more going out to have a meal with friends and family. No more group exercise activities.

While social distancing was necessary, it had some unintended consequences on our overall health. Rates of drug and alcohol abuse increased, rates of depression and anxiety increased, more people gained weight and stopped exercising than those who started to improve their health. It’s time now to start doing something about this.

Let’s take a minute to look at the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine:

Stress management – learning effective tools to cope with difficult times in our lives. To learn more about this, check out our other article

Diet – focusing on eating a healthy and well balanced diet.

Sleep – getting adequate sleep is vital to good health

Exercise – benefits for health including but not limited to your cardiovascular health, mental health, decreased risk of illness

Substance use or abuse – the use of substances such as food, alcohol or drugs to “fix” our emotional distress

Healthy relationships – our social connections are a predictor of overall health. Healthy, positive relationships have been shown to increase longevity.

Right before the start of the pandemic, we recognized that our patients had a need for more social interaction. They needed to meet other people who were struggling but working hard to succeed. So, to fill this gap, we started a weekly walking group where people had a chance to gain some new knowledge through a group education session followed by a “walk & talk” time. It was overwhelmingly successful but then the pandemic hit and we were not even allowed to exercise outside as a group when initial restrictions were put in place.

The good news is we are BACK in action and ready to start up again! We are inviting you, if you are in the Calgary area, to join us for in person sessions we call “Education and Exercise”.

This will be a 6 week program where we cover health topics, go out for a walk and then have some time for a short Q&A session once everyone has had a chance to spend some time thinking about our topic for the night.

Time: 5:45 (check in) , 6 – 7 pm educational talk, walk and Q&A session

Dates: Monday evenings starting July 4 – August 8

Location: Imagine Health Centre, 15-4120, MacLeod Trail South, Calgary (next to Original Joe’s in Sundance)

All fitness levels welcome (we will naturally break to groups of similar ability)

To register: Please call the clinic @403-910-3990 to have your name added to the list (you will need to provide your Alberta Health Card number for us to create a file and keep a record of attendees)

It’s open to everyone so bring your friends! After all, everyone can benefit from the exercise and the social interaction with other people all working toward a common goal.

WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER! We look forward to seeing you!



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