I am not sure why but for some reason, many people don’t consider walking exercise. To me any type of physical activity counts towards exercise. Walking is no different. Time and time again I read articles about people who have ‘walked their weight away’ ‘walked to a healthier person’ improved their health by becoming active and walking.
Walking is exercise!
Here is a nice tool to see how many calories one can burn by walking. Every Day Health Walking Calorie Calculator Tool. When I plugged in the walk that I do at work every Tues and Thursday, I burn close to +/-150 calories. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Did you know…. (source http://www.surgeongeneral.gov)
-One out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. These diseases contribute to disability, premature death, and health care costs.
– Increasing people’s physical activity levels will significantly reduce their risk of chronic diseases and related risk factors. Because physical activity has numerous other health benefits—such as supporting positive mental health and healthy aging—it is one of the most important actions people can take to improve their overall health.
Most recently The Surgeon General has made a call to action to promote walking and walkable communities.
Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walking and walkability. Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people.
The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.
Physical Activity: An Essential Ingredient for Health
Being physically active is one of the most important steps that people of all ages and abilities can take to improve their health. Increasing people’s physical activity level will significantly reduce their risk of chronic disease and premature death and support positive mental health and healthy aging.
Benefits of Physical Activity
-Physical activity can reduce illness from chronic diseases and premature death.
-Regular physical activity helps prevent risk factors for disease (such as high blood pressure and weight gain) and protects against multiple chronic diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and depression).
-In children and adolescents, physical activity can improve bone health, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and body composition.
-People living with chronic disease also benefit from being physically active.For example, physical activity can lessen the severity of their condition, as well as prevent disease progression and premature death, help manage or reduce symptoms, and improve mobility.
-Among adults, physical activity is associated with improved quality of life,emotional well-being,and positive mental health. Regular physical activity is also important for healthy aging and may delay the onset of cognitive decline in older adults.
-In children and adolescents, some evidence suggests that physical activity can lower levels of anxiety and depression. When schools encourage participation in physical activity as part of physical education, recess, classroom lessons, or extracurricular activities, students can also improve their academic performance.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
To obtain substantial health benefits, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination, each week and that children and adolescents be active for at least 60 minutes every day.
Why Focus on Walking as a Public Health Strategy?
-Walking is an easy way to get moving!
-People can get these benefits through brisk walking or by adding brisk walking to other physical activities.
-Walking is an excellent way for most Americans to increase their physical activity. It is also a powerful public health strategy for several reasons.
-Walking does not require special skills, facilities, or expensive equipment and is an easy physical activity to begin and maintain as part of a physically active lifestyle. Most people are able to walk, and many people with disabilities are able to walk or move with assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
-Walking has a lower risk of injury than vigorous-intensity activities.
-Walking also may be a good way to help people who are inactive become physically active because walking can be easily adapted to fit one’s time, needs, and abilities.
-Walking is a common form of physical activity. In 2010, more than 60% of adults reported walking 10 minutes or more in the past week for transportation or leisure. 39
-Because walking is multipurpose, it provides many opportunities for people to incorporate physical activity into their busy lives.
Ultimately, individuals will make the decision to walk. However, the decision to walk can be made easier by programs and policies that provide opportunities and encouragement for walking
Last month I shared with you how my organization has relaunched their employee wellness program and I have joined on as a Wellness Champion to support the efforts and to encourage employees to Live Well! I addition my organization has teamed up with the Virgin Pulse to support creating workforce habits that matter. (If you are interested you can read me post HERE)
Each employee has been given a FREE Max Tracker (fitbit like device) and is encouraged to take and track their steps. An additional incentive is cold hard cash!!!! Based on your activity level, steps taken and Health Miles earned, each employee can earn up to $350 a year! Right now, employees have until Dec 31 to earn $85.
The tracker has cute little messages that appear randomly…great encouragement!
To support the efforts to get those steps in, since July, I have created a Tue/Thur walk group at work. On average we have 3 people…it a work in progress but one I am committed to supporting and encouraging.
A few tips I have shares with my co-workers on how to add steps each day:
-Instead of sending an email, walk to your co-worker’s office;
-Park in a parking spot a little farther than the front door;
-Use the bathroom on the other side of the office;
-While you are warming up your lunch, walk around the conference room (it is right next door)
-Join us on Tue/Thurs we get an average of 2500 steps in on our walks;
-Send your documents to the printer in the 2nd copy room, not the one right next to your office.
I try not to pester them too much but I take my Wellness Champion role pretty seriously and will continue to encourage them to Live Well and get those steps in!
Do you walk for exercise? Do you think walking counts as exercise?
It has been a while but happy to be linking up for:
Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama
Angelena Marie at Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced
Nicole at Fitful Focus
Michelle at Fruition Fitness
As always thank you for the link up opportunity-it is always so fun to read what other people are talking/writing about.