The American Heart Association wants 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 relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure and help 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.
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.
How can you get involved in National Walking Day? Sign up to participate at heart.org/NationalWalkingDay. Promote National Walking Day to colleagues, coworkers, friends and family. Put red laces in your workout shoes to remind everyone that “life is why.” Post a photo of your red laces and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MAALaceUp. And, lace up and go on April 6!
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.