Today I'd like to take a step away from the more difficult workouts on the blog and talk to you a little bit about regular simple physical activity like walking. How often do you get outside and walk? Maybe you take your dog for a walk every morning? Or perhaps you take a walk with your family in the evening after dinner? What about during the workday? Do you make it a point to get up and go for a walk midday to beat the workday slump?
There are so many benefits of regular movement of your body, and walking is one of the easiest ways to move your muscles and joints (infographic below). This post was inspired by information from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in their support of the Surgeon General's recently announced campaign: Step it Up! A Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. This campaign helps promote individual walking and walking groups within communities all across the nation in its efforts to reduce sedentary lifestyles and help raise awareness about the importance of daily physical activity.
We've heard it time and time again - heart disease is THE leading cause of death in this country, with over 611,000 deaths reported in 2013 alone. And the most contributing risk factors for heart disease are a lack of physical activity, and, in combination with a poor diet, obesity. Let's just think about that for a minute. Over a half a million people (HALF A MILLION) die each year because their heart failed to do its job. Their hearts were put under too much stress carrying around extra weight due to poor diet, remaining sedentary, and dare I say, just plain laziness. Let this be a wake up call to you. If you are sitting on your couch, in your desk chair, or wherever you are right now reading this, I want you to get up. Stand up. Seriously. Go stretch your legs and walk around for just 1 minute. Don't worry, I'll wait...
(Insert Jeopardy theme song here...)
Back from your walk? How was it? Do you feel like you have more energy? Good! One of the easiest ways to combat obesity and start a daily physical activity habit is to walk, like you just did. Wasn't that bad was it? This reminds me of a pretty inspiring story I heard on ACE's 15 Minutes to Wellness Podcast about a man named Lee Jordan who started his fitness journey by walking 30 seconds (30 SECONDS!) a day. Lee started this journey at 450 pounds. He lost over 275 pounds and it all began with putting one foot in front of the other for 30 seconds a day. I highly recommend that episode of the podcast, in addition to all the others in the series. Really, check it out! Click here to listen to Lee Jordan's interview and learn more about his journey.
The Surgeon General's Goals for the Campaign
Okay, back to the campaign and what this means for you. The Surgeon General is putting out a call to action for all Americans to get involved in this campaign. The goals of the campaign are simple and most of which you can help with by simply getting active yourself and in your community. The number 1 goal is to make walking a national priority by encouraging individuals, families, and communities to get out there. Other goals include making communities safer and more walk-friendly by installing sidewalks and streetlights, as well as providing education to the public on the benefits of walking and to professionals on how to engage their communities. For a full list of the campaign goals and details of each, click here.
Walking Fun Facts
All that was pretty doom and gloom (sorry!), so how about some fun facts for a more light-hearted approach! These facts were taken from the list of 52 Fun Facts in the American Council on Exercise Fitpro Toolkit.
How Can You Get Involved?
You might be thinking this is all well and good, but I'm too busy to go for a walk in the morning or after dinner. To that I say remember Lee Jordan's story. Small increments. The walks don't have to be hour-long endeavors. To all the readers of this blog, I challenge you to join me in a 10-minute walk every day for 2 weeks (starting today) wherever you can find the time. Take your dog out in the morning before work. Take a walk with your kids after school. Go for a walk with coworkers on your lunch break at work. Take a walk by yourself whenever you need to clear your head.
If you're on social media, particularly Twitter and/or Instagram, I'd love it if you joined me in using the hashtag #StepItUp to show your support! You can tag me (@infitinhealth) and ACE (@acefitness) and join us all in creating a healthier nation, one step at a time.
Readers: chat with me! How was your weekend? Do you get a walk in frequently during your day? If not, where can you find the time to add in a walk? Do you walk to work, school, or elsewhere usually? What about around your neighborhood? Will you join me in the #StepItUp campaign?
Note: This post is not sponsored by ACE in any way. I received the Walk the Talk Fitpro Toolkit because I am an ACE professional. This post is simply my way of sharing that information with all of you and encouraging us all to get up and be active!