Western Health Advantage and the American Heart Association want people to lace up and get moving on National Walking Day, next Wednesday, April 6, to kick off a month-long focus on physical activity and a more active lifestyle.
These days, we’re spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before. We’re becoming less active, which can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases.
Increasing your physical activity, including simply walking more, has many health benefits. Research has shown that every hour of regular exercise can add about two hours to life expectancy, even if you don’t start until midlife. Plus, physical activity can help relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep and prevent obesity.
On the other hand, being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the nation’s leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. They account for about one of every three deaths each year and more than $316 billion a year in health-related costs including lost productivity.
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But about half of us don’t make exercise a regular habit, and almost a third of us report participating in no physical activity at all. Statistics show that people tend to stick with walking more than other forms of exercise. That’s why the association promotes walking as one of the simplest and most effective ways for everyone to get moving.
How can you get involved in National Walking Day? Sign up to participate at heart.org. The American Heart Association provides a complete toolkit of resources and materials for workplaces, schools, individuals and communities to celebrate National Walking Day. The association also has a wealth of walking, physical activity and healthy living information online and sponsors local programs and events like the Heart Walk.
Promote National Walking Day to colleagues, coworkers, friends and family. And of course, lace up and go on April 6! Use the hashtag #AHALaceUp to donate your walk toward the national goal of 100,000 minutes.