The Walk with a Doc program gives participants a chance to stretch their legs and bend the ears of local physicians.

The Walk with a Doc program gives participants a chance to stretch their legs and bend the ears of local physicians.

Antrim Park is one of about a dozen central Ohio locations for the weekly walks, also known as WWAD.

At 10 a.m. each Saturday, participants line up for blood-pressure checks, free coffee and water before taking a stroll around the lake.

Dr. Anita Somani, an OB-GYN who leads the walks at Antrim, said she provides some basic medical advice for the walkers and a chance to improve their health.

Walking, the American Heart Association says, has the lowest dropout rate of any exercise routine.

"The more we encourage people to walk or start a fitness program the better off they will be," said Somani, a physician at Comprehensive Women's Care on the Northwest Side.

"Maybe that will inspire them to do more during the week," she said.

The walks are usually canceled if the weather is poor.

Patrons can check the schedule at www.walkwithadoc.org. The outdoor season is held from the first weekend in April until the first weekend after Thanksgiving.

When the cold weather hits, all of the walks in parks north of Interstate 70 are held indoors at Polaris Fashion Place.

Tim Donahue is one of the regulars at Antrim. About two years ago, his doctor told him he had "pre-diabetes," which could lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Overweight, Donahue changed his diet, hit the trail and eventually met up with the WWAD folks.

"I became more religious about it," said Donahue, 50. "When you walk with a lot of people it's kind of fun."

Since last February he has lost 63 pounds and continually improv-ed his pace.

"The more I walk the more I do," said Donahue, a North Linden resident who works in accounting.

"I would say the biggest thing is find someone to do something with," he added.

"It doesn't cost anything to walk. Walk with a Doc is great because people who are committed will be there every week."

Walk with a Doc was founded in 2005 in Columbus by Dr. David Sabgir, who in attempt to motivate his patients began leading walks in Highbanks Metro Park.

The program now has 67 programs and has extended to 20 states.

Last year, 45,000 people joined the walks across the country. In addition, the program has extended to four countries.

"It's been pretty amazing to watch it grow," said Kathryn Stephens, executive director of the organization.

"And we have been very fortunate to have incredible leaders across the world doing the program," Stephens said.

"In reality it's preventative medicine at its best."