National Walk@Lunch Day

On April 26, the city of Mobile will participate in the 11th annual National Walk@Lunch Day created by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The day aims to promote healthy weight maintenance, as well as making walking a healthy habit for life.

Last year, over 14,000 people throughout Alabama participated in Walk@Lunch Day. As a result, Blue Cross donated $5,000 to the Alabama Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports. The donation was made on behalf of the businesses, schools, and individuals who participated. In honor of the upcoming day, here are some facts and tips about walking and healthy weight.

Walking Benefits:

Research has proven that walking may help prevent or manage many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancers. Going on a walk has also been said to lift your mood , alleviate depression or stress, and keep your energy levels up.

Walking Tips:

There are many ways to make walking more enjoyable and successful for you. Before going on your nightly walk, ask some friends and family if they want to join—make it a social event! One of the most important things your walking group should do is set goals. Use a pedometer or running app on your phone to track mileage goals or a watch to keep up with timed goals.

Another important tip for walking effectively is to watch your posture. Just like your mom probably told you growing up, you need to hold your head up high and your shoulders back while walking. And make sure to swing your arms at a consistent, comfortable stride! Ensuring that you are wearing the correct walking shoes for your level of exercise and your body type is crucial as well.

Weight and Your Health:

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight prevents many of the same harmful conditions as walking, in addition to breathing problems and gallstones. Keeping a healthy weight lowers your risk for developing diseases, gives you more confidence, and increases your energy.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, energy balance is one of the most important ways to main a healthy weight. You should take in only as much energy (calories) as you are putting out (exercising) to maintain your weight. If weight loss is necessary, you must start putting out more energy than you are taking in. If you need to gain weight, vice versa applies.

As always, a healthy diet, plentiful exercise, and limited physical inactivity are the best ways to lose weight if you are not currently at a healthy measurement. Losing just 5-10 percent of your current weight over a 6-month period can dramatically decrease your risk for disease. Using the CDC’s BMI calculator may help determine the safety of your current weight.

For more information, visit the National Walk@Lunch Day website.

*As always, talk with your physician before beginning a new diet or exercise program, or before taking any new supplements.