Everyday Exercise: Tips and a True Example from Dr. Wollner

We always hear it—exercise is important to healthy living. But sometimes it is hard to put it into practice, especially when schedules fill up with work, school, and all the busy-ness of everyday life. We asked Dr. Timothy Wollner, Family Medicine Physician at Little Company of Mary Hospital, what would be a good goal for everyday exercise, and he offered a reasonable answer.  “Try to do something extra every day; like a physical chore around the house. Make yourself walk an extra distance at work or while parking and shopping. Go for a walk or bike ride several days per week,” said Wollner.

He even had ideas for how to make everyday exercise practical. “If you’re elderly or stuck indoors, take several laps per day in your apartment or basement. If you’re working or going to school, plan on running in spurts or walking briskly to or from trains, bus stops, or the furthest corner of the parking lot. Walking and running in spurts is one of the best forms of exercise. Take the stairs instead of elevators,” said Wollner. He added, “I’m happy I’m going to get in better shape now that the new West Pavilion at Little Company of Mary has opened because there will be more patients on higher floors to reach by stair walking.”

Dr. Wollner is a great example of a doctor who practices what he preaches. He is an avid bike rider for both exercise and as a way to be green. “To me, green choices for a cleaner environment and greener, healthier lifestyle, means doing little things like walking, riding a bike, and taking public transportation. These choices can be healthy for the individual and the community. Anything that promotes health and wellness is important to me as a Family Physician,” said Wollner.

We decided to ask him a little about his love of bike riding. Learn more below.

How often do you ride? Do you prefer road or mountain biking?
Occasionally I go “mountain” trail bike riding, but I love road and bike-trail riding. I wish I could ride more often. I try to incorporate bike riding into regular activities, like riding to do weekend hospital rounds, to the office sometimes, and even to house calls.

How and when did you get into biking?
I always liked having a bicycle as a kid. As a teenager I would ride from Chicago Ridge to Dan Ryan Woods for summer football practices for Leo High School. Our sophomore year, a group of guys rode to Shaffer Lake in Indiana, a hundred mile trip. As an adult I really got back to bike riding after my family did the Late Night Ride in Chicago. It is one of many very fun bike riding events the organization, Active Transportation Alliance, sponsors.

Where is your favorite place to ride in the area?
Number one, the Forest Preserve trails, because of their safety, convenience, and beauty. Second, the Chicago Lakefront and neighborhoods. My favorite rides have been from my house in Palos Park to Wrigley Field and to US Cellular Field to watch games. It is always fun to have a good destination for a bike ride.

If you are inspired by Dr. Wollner’s love of biking, he has a few suggestions for easy ways to get started with everyday exercise. “There are many amazing trails and routes to explore throughout the city of Chicago and surrounding areas by walking, hiking, or bike riding. I wish for more people to just get out and get started, or rediscover the benefits of doing more on two feet or two wheels,” said Wollner. And he added, “Please, always wear a helmet.”

Thank you, Dr. Wollner, for the great tips and inspiration!

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