Dr Ash Bowden has become known as ‘Doctor Do More’ for the work that he’s been doing on Australia’s East Coast. The ED doctor with a background in sport and exercise science is encouraging his community to do more physical activity and exercise.
He’s started a website called Do More which lists a huge range of activity providers on the East Coast. He also gives seminars and workshops to educate people on living more active, happier and healthier lifestyles.
In late 2019, he was awarded Junior Medical Officer of the Year for his “significant contribution to the activities and positive culture of Central Coast Local Health District.”
Medworld gave Ash a call to ask what has inspired him to do more for his community.
Dr Do More
“I was working in Intensive Care on a ward round with Professor Levett, who I later learned was the president of the Perioperative Exercise Testing and Training Society (POETTS). With each patient, she asked me, ‘What’s their exercise tolerance?’ I’d look to the unconscious patient with the ventilator attached, a combination of drugs running through their veins to keep their heart pumping, and think, ‘I didn’t ask’ (they couldn’t answer!).
“As the ward round progressed, Prof. highlighted just how important the patient’s physical fitness was if they were to survive their admission. I went and found her afterwards, with a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm, wanting to be involved in anything to do with physical activity.”
It was this moment that Ash decided that he could do more. As well as working as an Emergency Department registrar, Ash is launching a business which encourages the community to get active. He’s working with a local company, Central Coast Primary Care, to help bridge gaps between secondary and primary care and provide a greater spotlight onto mental health issues faced in our community.
“I love to take every opportunity I can to encourage others to get active, mostly by trying to lead by example. The evidence surrounding the impact of exercise and physical activity on our general health, both physical and mental, is overwhelming! It’s this link that’s had me wanting to get as many people active as possible.”
Connecting with the community
Ash has options for all kinds of fitness levels and fitness appetites, from aqua aerobics to Crossfit. He reminds his community that you don’t have to become an athlete, you just need to DO MORE. His genuine and honest approach has helped him connect with his community.
“I used to spend entire days in bed, questioning the point of it all, and when I look back on those miserable days, I never felt better for staying there. I never found the answer and I’m pretty sure I never will (I’d be talking about that if I knew!) but the times that I got myself up and out – on a run or to the gym, or even just a brisk walk outside of the house, I would ALWAYS feel better.”
Ash adds that it’s remembering this motivation that helps him to balance his career as a doctor, his wellbeing work in the community and keeping himself fit and active; “it’s easy to do it when you’re motivated to do so.”
On bad days, when he doesn’t feel like exercising, Ash reminds himself of the days when he has pushed through and felt better because of it. It’s this faith that gets him motivated.
“If I can instil that faith in others, whether it be through sharing research or getting people to experience it, I’m sure we’ll have a more active community.”