Time to Start Walking

The United States Surgeon General wants to see you walking! Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking and asks individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.

Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease

The Surgeon General’s report discusses the health benefits of walking and calls on individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.  Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and only a quarter of high school students get the recommended amount.  Physical inactivity contributes to heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, which account for 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs.  Building walking into daily life can reduce disease and save money.

According to Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation.

The advantages of walking are numerous:

  • A low-intensity exercise that is easy on your joints and muscles
  • No equipment necessary
  • Male or female, walking strengthens your heart
  • Walking 90 minutes per week can prevent cognitive decline
  • Improves overall fitness and can prevent physical disability in older persons
  • Relieves stress
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Builds aerobic fitness (which leads to more heart healthy benefits)
  • Walking is a ‘weight-bearing’ activity, meaning it helps to fight against osteoporosis

To read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and learn how to promote walking, please visit www.surgeongeneral.gov.