Walking-Day-logoWith high temperatures across Iowa in the 70s and 80s today, a promotional program from the state chapter of the American Heart Association got a welcome boost.

This is National Walking Day and the organization’s spokeswoman Kassi Wessing says they’re urging people to just make the effort to walk for a half hour, starting today.

“National Walking Day is all about getting people out and getting moving,” Wessing says. “Spring is coming, the weather is turning warmer and today’s a great day to start your walking program. We want people to recognize that 30 minutes a day of physical activity is important. It lowers cholesterol, it lowers blood pressure, it helps you maintain a healthy weight.”

It’s a simple way to help prevent stroke and heart disease, according to Wessing, and it helps get us out of the wintertime hibernation mindset. “Walking programs have the lowest dropout rate of any exercise,” Wessing says. “Anybody can do it. You need a pair of good tennis shoes and a path to walk along and you can get your steps in. It’s an easy way to get out and get moving and it’s an easy way to get started on an exercise program and to continue that and keep going for a lifetime of healthy activities.”

She says making a habit of walking on a regular basis can also help to relieve depression. Wessing says the American Heart Association recommends walking for a half-hour a day, five days a week to get in the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity.