March 28, 2014
National Walking Day Is On Its Way
On April 2, 2014, the American Heart Association celebrates National Walking Day. According to the webpage, “On this day, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to get your family, friends and co-workers started on a healthier way of life.” The idea is not only to promote individual walking, but also to promote involving others.
Walking is an incredibly beneficial form of exercise. First of all, it is easier on your hips, knees, and ankles, so your joints do not suffer as much as in many other forms of exercise yet you still get the health benefits. The Mayo Clinic lists the following benefits of walking:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones
- Lift your mood
- Improve your balance and coordination
Furthermore, walking can really help with stress management as well since the exercise will release endorphins and also help us to feel good. It also explains that the benefits compound the faster, farther, and more frequently you walk. Obviously, the heart health benefits should inspire us all to walk; however, the physical benefits including weight management and mood enhancement might just compel us to walk more often.
The American Heart Associations promotion of National Walking Day is one focusing on the heart health benefits of walking, but that does not mean that we should ignore the other benefits. Walking is one activity that provides so much good that it is hard to understand just why people do not walk more.
Personally, walking is my exercise of choice. I love it. I walk about five miles a day. For 45-60 minutes I engage in rigorous walking. I also walk my dog around the neighborhood and take advantage of walking any time I can. I just love this form of exercise. And I feel just as good when I walk as when I jog. Studies have shown that walking is just as good for us as jogging as long as we walk the same distance and expend the same amounts of energy. Sure, jogging gets us to that distance faster, but walking is better on our joints.
So, this April 2nd, take time to enjoy a nice, brisk walk and tell others about it. The American Heart Association webpage gives ideas on how to get involved:
- Host a walk and/or rally to show your commitment to living longer, healthier lives.
- Rally your family, friends and neighbors to walk that day and every day.
- Invite your co-workers to wear their sneakers to work.
- Encourage employees to get in their 30 minutes of walking that day.
- Change one of your meetings to a walking meeting, and let your colleagues know why.
- Join others across the country and be part of the solution to get America walking.
- Discover and share more information from the American Heart Association about why physical activity is so important.
- Start Shopping for some physical activity gear and show you support the American Heart Association’s healthy living movement.
- Get your family, friends and co-workers involved in the annual Heart Walk in your community.
And if you are new to walking, start slow and build your way up to fast and farther. I promise you will feel better, be healthier, and even look better.
Image Credit: Thinkstock