Every year the American Heart Association sponsors National Walking Day on the first Wednesday of April to advocate the importance and benefits of regular physical activity. AHA is passionate about taking preventative measures against heart disease, and is LONG!
One of the purposes of National Walking Day is to remind Americans of the health benefits of taking a walk. Walking can often be overlooked when planning an exercise strategy. However, a brisk walk has been shown to be equally as effective as running in lowering your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
The AHA recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week (60 minutes a day for children) yet only half of adults surveyed are committed to regular exercise. Spending as little as 30 minutes each day walking can reduce your risk of a multitude of health issues, including coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes. Not to mention the various benefits to your mental health!
If 30 minutes seems daunting or is difficult to work into your schedule, try going for multiple 10-minute sessions instead. The AHA also stresses "some is better than none"; even if you come across a day where you’re not going to hit your goal, fit in as much activity as you can. Make a point to park farther away from the entrance at work, use your15 minute breaks to walk a lap around the office, or commit to taking the stairs if you typically take an elevator. These little efforts add up in a very real way! For every hour spent on physical activity, adults may gain up to an additional two hours of life expectancy.
Use this day as a motive to assess your current activity level, and think up some realistic goals for yourself. Building on small, sustainable changes is proven to successfully create long-term habits. Gain accountability and maybe even a walking partner by getting your whole office involved! The AHA gives you all the tools you need to create a Workplace Walking Program on their website.
LONG empowers our employees to be health conscious with our Wellness Program. This includes health screenings, various informative webinars, online health tools, fun challenges, and other incentives that encourage and support a healthy lifestyle.