No joke – it’s National Walking Day

By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service-NC

RALEIGH — The forecast today is sunny with a high temperature of 70 degrees. It’s a perfect day for a walk.

The simple act of taking a short walk can send you on the path to better health. That’s the message from the American Heart Association today – on National Walking Day. Association spokeswoman Patty Clements said reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke starts with making walking part of your regular routine.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Shareese Powell, public health educator with FirstHealth, leads a group of more than two dozen walkers in September around downtown Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Shareese Powell, public health educator with FirstHealth, leads a group of more than two dozen walkers in September around downtown Rockingham.

“Once you start walking, you find that you’re going to want to continue walking because you just feel better,” she said. “You have more energy. You’re breathing better, you’re holding yourself better. You feel that muscle tone start coming back.”

People are encouraged to take a heart-healthy walk today and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag “Triad-Lace-Up.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Health, the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease has decreased by 50 percent in the state since 1979, but the obesity rate remains at 29 percent.

Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that obesity, which is a contributor to heart disease, was up almost 6 percentage points from 2004 to 2013 in North Carolina. Clements said it’s important to remember that the benefits of a walk can be cumulative over the course of a day.

“It’s easy to do. It’s free. All you need is a pair of comfy shoes and a couple minutes to get out,” she said. “If you don’t have the time to do a lot of walking all at once, that’s OK, because it all adds up. If you do five minutes here, 10 minutes there, that does have benefits for your health.”

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week – that’s half an hour, five days a week.

More information is online at heart.orgstateofobesity.org and startwithyourheart.com.

Filed in: Featured News, Health, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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