When Dr. Travis Stork, host of the daytime talk show “The Doctors,” is on the phone, he stays on his feet. He bikes to work. He makes seemingly small choices through the day to stay fit, but Stork, who also is a practicing emergency room physician, says those small choices have a big impact.
“I go weeks without being able to get in a formal workout,” he said. “But good health doesn't start in a gym. It starts at home.”
Stork, 41, is the keynote speaker at the Wellness Council of the Midlands awards luncheon in Omaha on Tuesday. The luncheon recognizes local businesses that demonstrate “outstanding efforts in addressing employee health.”
Stork, who spends much of his time in Los Angeles and Colorado, called the upcoming visit “a homecoming,” during a phone interview with The World-Herald. He has family in Blair, Neb., and said some of his “fondest memories growing up occurred in Nebraska.”
At the luncheon, he'll give a presentation called “Your Best Life,” encouraging people to be “the CEOs of their own health.”
We spoke with Stork about making healthy choices when you're short on time, his favorite workout and being proactive about your health before it's too late.
Question. What problem do you see most often among patients in the ER and people on the show?
Answer. The overall theme that I've encountered as a physician and while hosting “The Doctors” is that people feel, in general, pretty helpless when it comes to their health. They believe health is something that happens to them. It's beyond our control. But we aren't helpless. Patients who have made wrong decisions have seen an incredible change once they reverse those decisions. It has a pretty profound impact when people begin to realize how much control they have.
Q. What's your favorite way to work out?
A. I love to bike. I bought a bike with my first paycheck and have ridden to work for the last 20 years. Initially it was a cheap way to get to work. Then I began to realize that it was my favorite part of the day. I love being outside and being active. Yes, it's good for your physical health, but it's a mental health boost, too.
Q. What's your reaction to people who say they're too busy to eat well and stay active?
A. You don't have time to not be healthy. Incorporate it into your life. We have to re-prioritize. Being healthy doesn't take a lot of extra time as much as it takes a commitment.
Q. How do you work out when the weather forces you indoors?
A. You have to modify your behavior based on climate. When I'm in Los Angeles, it's 75 degrees and sunny every day. It doesn't snow here. It's snowing right now in Colorado. It's amazing how much you can do even when you're stuck at home. You can use a workout DVD or use resistance bands during television commercials. The key is to increase your activity, and it doesn't need to be some big, formal 5-mile run. Figure out what you like to do.
Q. You advocate small steps to see big results. What “small steps” aren't people taking?
A. Most people go about their day and don't realize how many opportunities they have to make little tweaks. Do you floss? Do you put on sunscreen? Do you eat breakfast, even if it's nothing extravagant? Do you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Those little things add up over time. Even if we go to the gym for an hour every day, it's the other 23 that really count.
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