Did you all know that the first Wednesday of April is National Walking Day? I didn’t until I read Glenneth’s awesome post over on Your Path to Fit!
Sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), National Walking Day kicks off a month long celebration designed to help us all become more active. Today the AHA is encouraging everyone to get out for 30 minutes of walking to kick off the month.
According to the AHA, research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
- Reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profile
- Maintain your body weight and lower the risk of obesity
- Enhance your mental well-being
- Reduce your risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer
- Reduce your risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
The AHA has lots of tips for the best stretches before and after walking, choosing the right shoes, fitting in your walk day or night, and more! There’s also an option to sign up for a monthly health e-newsletter or to register for a toolkit of educational and promotional materials for individuals, organizations, teams, etc.
Just in time for National Walking Day, Fitbit has also unveiled a brand new feature that allows you to keep track of how many hours over the day you are active versus sedentary.
You’ve probably heard the catchy “sitting is the new smoking” lingo over the past few years. Research shows that long periods of sitting is associated with significantly higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, depression, and muscle and joint soreness. This is true even if you are an otherwise very active person. It turns out though that moving for even just a few minutes every hour actually reduces the negative effects of sitting.
This was the onus for Fitbit’s introduction of the 250 steps per hour goal. This is similar to other fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivofit and the Jawbone UP. While all versions of Fitbit show this new feature on the dashboard, it seems that only the Alta (for now) will vibrate to remind you to move. Hopefully the feature eventually comes to the Charge HR too!
Since I’ve switched to a much more sedentary job, this is going to be tough for me. I’m really excited for the challenge of getting up to move around a little each hour. As it turns out, it’s harder than I expected it would be. The feature is retroactive so I’ve been able to see how close I’ve come to the goal in the past. On Monday I was only “active” for 2 of the 9 hours selected and on Tuesday I was active for 3 of the 9 hours. Right now I’ve left the hours tracked to the default 9am-6pm, but I may change that to my actual work hours soon.
As much as I love running, I’m also a big fan of walking. Joe and I walk quite a lot (admittedly he walks much more than I do since he walks to and from work most days), and there are so many great benefits. I hear from people all the time that they want to get healthier, but don’t want to run. Honestly, there’s no need! I tell people that running is great if it’s something you enjoy doing. If it isn’t something you enjoy, the most important thing is to get out and get moving! Walking is a great way to burn calories, relieve stress, and kick of healthier habits.
Check out Glenneth’s post for some great tips for how to get your 30 minutes in today for National Walking Day. I’ll be getting mine over lunch today because even with the cold and snow in Boston, there’s always the option of doing laps around the building.
Will you participate in National Walking Day? What is your favorite way to exercise?