Sprock of Central Florida UroGynecology encourages
patients to walk a mile a day to guard against disease;
more doctors advise about exercising
By Ken Datzman, BREVARD BUSINESS NEWS
BBN December 9, 2013
BBN photo — Adrienne B. Roth
Marja Sprock of Central Florida
UroGynecology in Rockledge has taken
an active role in getting her
patients to become physically
engaged in exercise, encouraging
them to walk one mile a day on a
routine basis. Dr. Sprock is one of
a growing number of physicians
around the nation who are discussing
exercising with their patients. She
gives them a free T–shirt reminding
them to take their one mile daily
walk and a one–page sheet listing
the '10 reasons to stick with it.'’
ROCKLEDGE — Exercise is a
foreign word to Americans. Only 5 percent of adults in
the U.S. do some sort of physical activity on any given
day, according to a survey conducted by the "American
Journal of Preventive Medicine."
Nearly 80,000 American
adults, age 20 and older, were surveyed over a four–year
period in a national telephone poll.
Even more alarming is a
government report showing that obesity costs will grow
to $344 billion by 2018, if the current trend continues.
Increasingly, physicians and health–care providers who
are on the front lines of medicine every day are playing
a more active role in discussing the benefits of
exercising and healthy lifestyle habits with their
And physical activity
doesn’t need to be complicated.
"I always ask my patients
if they do any exercise," said practicing physician
Marja Sprock of Central Florida UroGynecology, a
board–certified obstetrician and gynecologist with
fellowship training in urogynecology. "And their
response is always ‘no.’ so I try to get them moving,
suggesting they take up walking on a daily basis because
it has such great health benefits."
Regular brisk walking can
help you maintain a healthy weight; prevent or manage
various conditions, including heart disease, high–blood
pressure, and type 2 diabetes; strengthen your bones;
lift your mood; and improve your balance and
Physical activity is also
an important part of lowering the risk of cardiovascular
disease. Studies have shown that a lifetime of physical
activity yields measurable benefits as we age.
The athletic Dr. Sprock,
who is among an elite group of physicians to have earned
the new board certification in female pelvic medicine
and reconstructive surgery, and who has a special
interest in women’s health, encourages her patients to
get off the "couch and walk a mile a day."
A mile a day "may not
sound like much, but if you do it every day and make it
part of your routine, you will reap the benefits. An
85–year–old can do this."
Exercise is most
beneficial if it is done on a regular basis, said Dr.
Sprock. If you can’t walk a mile a day, "then start with
200 yards and increase in increments. But don’t feel
like it’s okay to sit around and do nothing, to be
The average person’s
stride length is roughly 2.5– feet long. That means it
takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, according
to "The Walking Site."
Wearing a pedometer is an
easy way to track your steps each day. Record your daily
steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you
will know your average daily steps.
Dr. Sprock gives each of
her patients a bright orange T–shirt that says, "A mile
a day, no excuses" on one side, and "Have you done your
mile today?" on the flip side. "Of course, it has the
name of my practice — Central Florida UroGynecology — on
Her patients also receive
a single–page handout detailing "10 reasons to stick
with it (the walking program)."
Three of the reasons are:
1) strength, muscle mass, and aerobic activity decline
with age; 2) the minimum guideline for exercise is 30
minutes, five or more days a week; and 3) exercise has
four components: aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening,
flexibility, and balance. Walking especially addresses
aerobic exercise, but the other three components will be
needed in order to perform it successfully.
There are ways to increase
your daily steps. The Walking Site suggests: Take a walk
with your spouse, child or friend; walk the dog; use the
stairs instead of the elevator; park further from the
store; better yet, walk to the store; get up to change
the TV channel; plan a walking meeting; and walk over
and visit a neighbor.
"Walking can become a
social event," said Dr. Sprock, "as you get more of your
friends involved in this form of exercise."
Dr. Sprock, who jogs with
her children, says her main exercise is swimming. "I
swim in the pool every day, Monday through Friday. And I
have been doing it routinely for nearly 10 years. That’s
my ‘mile.’ I do more than a mile in the pool."
She says she has exercised
all her life and has participated in sports as well. "I
used to play field hockey. That was my favorite sport. I
played in Holland. It’s really big there. I started when
I was 11 years old and probably played for more than 10
Dr. Sprock also enjoys
tennis. "But I am in no way as good as my kids on the
court. Tennis is another great way to exercise."
With the obesity rate in
the U.S. ticking up and Americans exercising less,
conversations between physicians and patients about the
benefits of exercising regularly and eating a healthy
diet may be the key to reversing these trends.
And, while the smoking
rate in the U.S. has declined over the past decade,
physicians’ conversations with smokers and nonsmokers
about the benefits of not smoking may be essential if
this downward trend is to continue.
Dr. Sprock says physicians
need to "care about the general health of people,"
especially their patients.
In Gallup’s annual
"Consumption Habits" poll conducted in July, 71 percent
of Americans say their doctor usually discusses the
benefits of engaging in regular physical exercise and 66
percent talk to them about the benefits of eating a
Fewer, only 50 percent,
say their doctor usually discusses the benefits of not
smoking, although that number jumps to 79 percent among
smokers. The survey sample included 2,027 adults, aged
18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District
"When you exercise on a
regular basis and eat a balanced diet, and do not smoke,
you’re going to feel better. It’s uplifting," said Dr.
Her parents are walkers.
"One of the first things they say to me when we get
together is, ‘We have already walked today.’ They know I
am going to ask," said Dr. Sprock.
Marja Sprock is a
board certified urogynecologist as well as a board
certified obstetrician and gynecologist and practices in
Rockledge at Central Florida UroGynecology. Call us at
Florida UroGynecology where high tech and common sense