BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – YSU is hosting its Walk With a Doc event Thursday for the first time after about a year-long break. It’s free and anyone is welcome to join.

Cardiologist Dr. David Sabgir, from Columbus, started Walk With a Doc. The program encourages physical activity in people of all ages.

Sabgir would walk at the park every weekend and invite his patients out to join him. Now it’s turned into an international initiative led by doctors.

YSU, which started participating in the program in 2018, is the first to have it led by doctors of physical therapy students.

Over the past year, it didn’t happen because of the pandemic. But this year, it kicks off Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

It’ll start with speakers from YSU and Mercy Health, who will talk about reducing fall risks and promoting health. Then there will be a 45-minute to an hour walk around the mall.

“We have had older adults, younger adults, people with kids,” said Cara Berg-Carramusa, a physical therapy professor at YSU who helps lead the program. “The intent is to move and so it’s a safe space, in terms of inside. It’s a really fun morning. It’s always been great with music, and energy, and smiles and it’s a good time.”

Those walking will also have their heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen taken before and after the walk.

Berg-Carramusa said a lot of diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, are preventable if you just do a little exercise.

YSU doctor of physical therapy students will be there as walk leaders, so you can walk with them if you want to and ask them any questions you might have.

Berg-Carramusa said not only is this beneficial for people who come out to walk, but it helps the students connect with the community, too.

“Just seeing the value of population health. I think it’s so important for us as physical therapists to be out into society and doing what we do best. We’re a movement specialist, and so I think it’s important for them to understand the value and importance of us connecting with society as a resource for optimal health.”

There will be giveaways, music and screenings by YSU doctor of physical therapy students, too.

If you can’t come out Thursday, Walk With a Doc takes place the last Thursday of every month. All you need is a mask and some good walking shoes.