Dr. Michele Reed of MS Family Medicine practices what she preaches. The Hempstead resident, who tells her patients about the importance of getting exercise and staying healthy during every visit, will run in the inaugural Suffolk County Half Marathon Sept. 13.
“I feel like the only way I can encourage my patients to do it is by being active myself. I’m in turn leading by example,” she said.
Running has always been the go-to way to stay fit for Reed, who ran for the Stony Brook University track team and is now a member of Black Girls RUN, a grassroots organization that encourages African American women to live a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t push it on her patients. Instead, she tells them to find their own favorite ways to stay active.
“I tell them, ‘you don’t have to do the same thing that I do, but I just need you to do something. Pick something that you like and that’s what you’ll do,'” she said.
It can be as simple as pulling up a Spotify playlist and dancing for 20-30 minutes or walking around a track during your child’s soccer practice. And yet some patients, especially parents, still give Reed the same excuse: “I don’t have time.”
“In reality, you have more time than you really think,” said Reed, a mother of two children herself. “Yes, we all have to cook dinner. When you’re cooking dinner, you’re standing up. You can do squats, you can do lunges, you can grab a bag of flour or sugar and you can do curls. It’s just a proper allotment of your time. You have to decide how you’re going to carve out your time.”
And seeing a parent living an active lifestyle can have long-lasting benefits on your child. This year, for Mother’s Day, Reed’s 11-year-old son who plays basketball didn’t just thank her for making him dinner in his card. He added, “Thank you for encouraging me to exercise so I can be healthy, too.”
“I’m a mush, so that was very touching,” Reed said. “You can do things, but you’re not necessarily doing things because you want to get praise from anyone. You’re doing them because you know it’s the right thing to do.”