On The Run Blog: One step at a time

Will Kimbrough, the doctor of WTOP\'s Paula Wolfson, after a Christmas morning run. Dr. Kimbrough helped prepare Wolfson for a marathon this year and provides advice to stay in shape. (Courtesy of Will Kimbrough)

Editor’s Note: WTOP’s Paula Wolfson chronicled her quest for a Marine Corps Marathon finisher’s medal in her “On the Run” blog. She now turns her attention to the athletic pursuits of others and the challenge of mixing family, work and fitness in our busy lives “on the run.”

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – It is said every great journey begins with a single step.

The same thing applies to running, say, the Marine Corps Marathon. You don’t begin your training by running 26.2 miles. You begin by jogging around the block — that first step — and gradually build your endurance over time.

It’s a valuable lesson. And that’s why I am not into making New Year’s resolutions — at least not the “I resolve to lose those last 10 pounds in 2013″ kind.

I don’t know about you, but those sort of resolutions usually have a life span of about, oh, a month if you are really lucky.

Over the last year — thanks to this blog and WTOP — I have had the chance to talk to some of the best minds when it comes to health and fitness. And they pretty much agree the optimum way to bring about change is to do it — drum roll, please — one step at a time. Instead of thinking about resolutions pegged to one day, they say you should think about a lifestyle that will keep you healthy in 2013 and beyond.

That’s the message that my own primary care doc has been drumming into my head. As the year came to an end, I had a chance to sit down for a long chat with the man I call, with great affection, “Dr. Will.”

Dr. Will Kimbrough — as the rest of the world knows him — is a runner, amateur chef (a Southern boy turned part-time vegetarian!) and an internist with One Medical Group in D.C. He is also the doc who taught me how to stretch the IT band in the back of my right leg, hydrate properly and get through a marathon at an age when most female runners are getting ready to hang up their Nikes.

Dr. Will is a great believer in the power of exercise, and I have a hunch that his favorite prescription for his patients is “two to four hours of moderate exercise a week.” Well, I managed to take care of that one in 2012!

He is also a fan of incremental change when it comes to diet and nutrition. Forget the crash diets. Instead, think nutrition and gradually cut the salt and sugar, up your intake of produce and walk away from processed food.

“If you can identify one single part of the chicken in a McNugget, I would be shocked,” he says. “And if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you might want to think about what you are willing to eat.”

His other recommendations for better health include wearing sunscreen year-round (check!), see your dentist regularly (double check!) and drink more water, especially in our dry winters (I am still working on that one).

He urges all of us to get an annual physical. But if you think something is not quite right, get in touch with your doctor. As Dr. Will puts it, “that’s what we’re here for.”

So, you might wonder, what was the biggest question I had for him that day?

“What is your top health recommendation for me?”

He smiled that knowing smile of his and just said “keep on running.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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