Iowans are living much less physical lives now than they did a few decades ago and people are being encouraged to get outdoors for a brisk walk today as part of National Walking Day.
Kassi Wessing, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association of Iowa, says to start with just a half hour of hoofing it.
“It’s a day for people to take charge of their heart health,” Wessing says. “It’s starting to get nice out, we’re enjoying warmer temperatures and people are ready to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. We would like everybody to get out and get at least a 30-minute walk today. So, lace up your sneakers and get moving.”
It’s recommended adults take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both, each week.
“Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can take on,” Wessing says. “It’s low risk. All you need is a good pair of sneakers and a path to walk on, so it’s inexpensive. Pretty much anybody can do it and a lot of times, that can kind of be our gateway drug to more physical activity.” She says everyone who walks can “donate” their minutes walked to the American Heart Association by posting their minutes on social media.
“We’d like anybody that walks to share that they’re participating in National Walking Day,” Wessing says. “Share how many minutes you walked. Use #AHALaceUp. We’re going to track all of that and work toward the goal of 100,000 minutes walked nationally today.”
Studies suggest moderate physical activity has many proven benefits for overall health, like lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol and controlling weight. All these changes help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, Iowa’s number 1 and number 5 killers.