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Sept. 12, 2013 Volume 35, No. 4

Midweek reboot

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MU Health Care surgeon Scott Litofsky spends most Wednesday evenings playing soccer at the Missouri Athletic Center in Columbia. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Busy neurosurgeon makes time for exercise

As with most people, physicians are often challenged to find time to exercise, despite their seeing firsthand the chronic health problems caused by a sedentary life. 

Scott Litofsky, a medical school professor and chief of the division of neurological surgery at MU Health Care, works 70 hours a week. But even with his grueling schedule, he makes time for formal exercise.

Litofsky, 54, rises at 4:30 every morning to walk two miles. He also swims a half-mile in his backyard pool when weather permits. On Wednesday nights he plays on a soccer team at the Missouri Athletics Center in Columbia. 

He says that, because residency takes up so much time, inactivity can become a lifelong habit for physicians.  

During his residency at the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles, Litofsky took up basketball. In 2002 he switched to soccer while coaching for a middle school soccer team.

He believes that exercise should be a requisite, like brushing teeth, not an addendum. Exercise needs to be part of one’s lifestyle.

Soccer night is Litofsky’s midweek reboot, clearing his mind and reinvigorating him. “You have to want to participate, and then you have to make the time,” Litofsky said.