The Madison Parks Department is concerned about your health.
That’s why it has instituted a program to connect doctors with individuals in the community called "Walk with a Doc."
Over the weekend, the initiative took its first baby steps, as people like bariatric patient Mike Goldade made strides toward improving their health.
"Yeah, I'm glad I brought the walker instead of the crutches," said Goldade, adding, "I've lost about 165 pounds since last November, since I started the bariatric system."
The first weekend in October marked the 6-month anniversary since Goldade’s weight loss surgery.
It was also the first day of the Madison Parks Department’s "Walk with a Doc" initiative.
The program is free to users and the concept couldn’t be more simple: Meet at a park and go for a walk led by a doctor.
"Out in the park walking, it's just one person talking to another person," said bariatric surgeon Dr. Jacob Greenberg. "It's a very relaxed environment."
Going for a walk in the park isn't necessarily an easy task for patients like Mike Goldade. But it is exactly what the doctor ordered. Dr. Greenberg said it is the smallest changes that can make the biggest differences.
"If you can get out and walk 30 to 45 minutes a day sometimes, just four days a week, that can show significant change and significant benefit," said Dr. Greenberg. "The other thing is change what you're eating."
Dr. Greenberg said that taking his practice outside removes the barriers that may prevent some folks from seeking help.
"We want to get people healthy, whether it's through medical changes, dietary modifications, exercise, and in some cases or extreme cases, surgery," said Dr. Greenberg. "But our focus is to see people get healthy and losing weight."
After 15 years as a type 2 diabetic. Goldade hasn't needed any medication in two months.
The weight loss also means he'll be able to undergo hip replacement surgery at the end of October.
At 49 years old, Goldade’s proving that it is never too late to turn your health around.
"The light at the end of the tunnel got a little bigger and now it's really bright," remarked Goldade.
The next "Walk with a Doc" will be on Sunday, October 28, at Turville Point Conservation Park.
For more information, go to the program's web site.