The growing body of research reveals significant benefits for individuals and employers, health plans, public health agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations that support an ongoing walking program:
Walking has a clear, positive impact on health.
Physicians often prescribe walking as an effective, doable way to help prevent or delay the progression of several chronic diseases including depression, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and arthritis.
It’s an inexpensive program to implement.
No dedicated facilities are needed, and the cost is next to nothing to post walking trail maps around or through a facility or neighborhood. A walking competition between departments nearly promotes itself.
The program encourages high participation among all age groups, for several reasons:
- Walking is the only exercise where participation rates don’t decrease as individuals reach middle age and older.
- It’s the most popular physical activity in the United States.
- Walking is economical and easy. All a person needs is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes.
- It comes naturally and can be done in connection with other daily activities — for example walking to work, circling the mall or grocery aisles, walking the dog, or pacing while on the phone.
- Walking is a low-impact, safe form of exercise — even for those who are obese or have arthritis.
Walking becomes a steppingstone to other forms of exercise.
It carries particular appeal for people who are new to or self-conscious about exercise.
It burns about the same number of calories as running.
Walking 1 mile briskly in 15 minutes burns around as many calories as jogging the same distance in 8.5 minutes.
Is walking part of your organization’s strategic plan? The fact is it may be the answer to our nation’s epidemic of obesity and related conditions — and the single most effective, cost-efficient intervention you can offer.
Fall is an ideal time to promote walking — vacations are over, school is back in session, temperatures are moderate, and turning leaves offer a colorful palette best appreciated up close and on foot.