Posted: April 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Today is National Walking Day, a day set aside by the American Heart Association to inspire us to walk. You wouldn’t think we’d need a day to remind us to walk. The fact is, we do.
A scene from Supersize Me, a documentary about diet by Morgan Spurlock, crystallized that fact for me back in 2004. In the documentary, Spurlock sets some rules for himself. He’d eat only McDonald’s food for 30 days. Anytime a McDonald’s staffer asked him if he wanted to “supersize” something, he would. And he had to eat everything on the menu at least once. To act more like a “typical American,” he also walked only 5,000 steps per day. In the scene that grabbed my attention, Spurlock came out of his New York apartment, walked down the stairs, maybe walked a block or two, and hailed a cab. That was it. That was all the activity he allowed himself to take that day.
Many days Spurlock failed to stick to his activity requirement because he walked too much. That’s not so for the majority of us. The bulk of us gather bulk by sitting. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found we spend about nine hours sitting, between working and commuting. Counter that with the time we spend walking. According to self-reported information in the National Health Interview surveys, the mean time spent walking was approximately 13 minutes per day in 2010. Depending on your speed, that’s anywhere from 909 to 3,636 steps, far short of the recommended 10,000 steps per day.
This isn’t meant to be a finger-wag post. Far from it. Along with the American Heart Association, we hope to turn a nation on to walking, beginning with National Walking Day. While Hotseat focuses on the benefits of shorter bursts of activity throughout the day, we recognize the benefits of walking. Walking is a simple, low-impact, high-results activity that nearly anyone can do at anytime from anywhere. So do your body and mind a favor—try on a 30-minute walk today in honor of National Walking Day. If meetings are pressing on your time and calendar, then turn one of them into a walking meeting. Haven’t you heard? They’re all the rage.
Find resources and register for National Walking Day.