By Violet Ruiz, Government Relations Director
The American Heart Association celebrated National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 1st! National Walking Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in April and is meant to help Americans actualize ideal cardiovascular health. Even though National Walking Day is over – take time to tie up your sneakers, take a walk and celebrate your health every day!
On National Walking Day, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. Statistics show people stick to walking plans more than any other form of physical activity and walking is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.
The other amazing thing about walking is that you don't have to wait until next year to get moving again. National Walking Day celebrations will come and go, but walking should be part of your daily exercise routine. Regular physical, such as walking, gardening, cycling, and climbing stairs can help you:
- Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce or control blood pressure.
- Raise HDL ("good") cholesterol.
- Reduce your risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer.
- Sleep better.
- Have more energy to do the things you love.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any other physical activity. If you can't carve 30 minutes out of your day to walk, just taking a few more steps in your day is a simple and effective place to start. It's really that easy. Or be creative and break up your activity into 10- or 15-minute increments. For example:
- In the morning, park or get off the bus/train 10 minutes away from your job and walk briskly to work.
- At lunch, walk for 10 minutes around where you work, indoors or outdoors.
- At the end of the day, walk briskly for 10 minutes back to your car or station.