Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's National Walking Day!

April 3 is the American Heart Association's National Walking Day. This nationwide call-to-action encourages Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle literally one step at a time. 
More Americans are overweight and obese today than ever before. Although there are many factors that influence weight gain, reduced activity level is a major culprit. Yes--we all lead busy lifestyles, but exercise has to be a priority in order to stay healthy! And exercise is not only a means to achieve a healthy weight, it's important for maintaining heart health, healthy digestion, and preventing and controlling diabetes.
Luckily, it is as easy as going for a walk most days of the week. Walking does not require any special skills. It is safe, free, requires no equipment and costs nothing to get started. Plus it's a great way for beginners to start an exercise program safely.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). 30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. However you will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 -15 minutes each day. 
Here's the math when it comes to walking for weight loss:
  • In each mile you walk, you'll burn about 100 calories (depending on your speed, that might take you 15-20 minutes)
  • If you burn 100 calories each day, you'll lose 10 pounds in a year
  • If you walk 30 minutes each day (2 miles), at a pace of 15 minutes/mile, you'll lose 20 pounds in a year!
  • Combine that with a healthy diet that is slightly reduced in calories and you could be looking at a weight loss of 1/2 to 1 pound per week (25-50 pounds a year). Talk to your Registered Dietitian for your specific calorie needs and a weight loss plan.

Those steps really add up!

So join thousands across the nation and pledge to start a healthier lifestyle as part of this annual event! Grab your sneakers and go for a walk during your lunch break or after work today. Hopefully you'll be able to enjoy some springtime weather. 
Encourage your company to help employees take the first step in becoming more active by participating too. Even after today passes, ask your employer to start a regular walking group at your workplace (or grab some co-workers and form your own). Walking during work is a great way to improve heart health and burn calories while relieving some stress by stepping away from your desk for a while :)
For more information, visit the National Walking Day Website. If you fill out the registration form, you can download the Walking Day toolkit, which includes posters, flyers, a powerpoint presentation and signs that you can use to set up a walking path at your workplace. What a jumpstart!
Do you already have a regular walking program on your own or at your workplace? Tell me about it!
Source: American Heart Association