TAKE THE NEXT STEP, ATLANTA 2-DAY WALK FOR BREAST CANCER

SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

For many people, understanding how to form a fitness regimen can be the biggest barrier to forming healthy fitness habits. The good news? You don’t need to join a gym, buy a bike, or pay for Zumba classes to get fit. Walking is one of the most basic and versatile forms of physical fitness there is – and you already know how to do it.

Why Walk?

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular, brisk walking can help you lose weight, increase your energy, lower your blood pressure, prevent heart disease, strengthen your bones, lift your mood, and improve your balance and coordination. According to Kaiser Permanente’s Every Body Walk! campaign, walking will reduce your anxiety and increase your focus. Walking is such an effective exercise tactic that, in 2013, the Surgeon General of the United States began a campaign to promote walking as a way of preventing health problems associated with lack of physical exercise.

Your Weekly Prescription

The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults need 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, which is only five 30 minute walks a week. Sound daunting? When you think about the amount of time you spend using your smartphone, computer, or television, 30 minutes seems like a small sacrifice to make for the sake of your health.

Safety in Numbers

An effective way to increase your motivation to exercise is to recruit a fitness partner to exercise with you, and walking is one of the most communal forms of exercise. You can’t necessarily run with friends or have a conversation while doing yoga, but walking invites interaction and conversation. “Walking is what brought me together with my best friends. We began walking together 5 years ago to fundraise for breast cancer, and we’ve been inseparable ever since,” says Alice Scott, an Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer participant.

Getting Started

Find the time, and step outside and walk. Whether it’s before work, during your lunch break, on your way to the grocery store, late at night, or with your friends, each day there are multiple opportunities for you to improve your health by taking a simple 30 minute walk, once your physical stamina increases, pick up the pace, or add time to your weekly walking regimen.

According to the American Heart Association, for every hour of brisk walking, you could be increasing your life expectancy by about 2 hours. So tell me, do you want to watch that re-run of Seinfeld, or are you ready for a walk?

Editor’s Note: The Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is a Georgia non-profit dedicated to raising funds for breast health and breast cancer treatment across the state of Georgia. This year’s Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is October 11-12, 2014. For more information, or to donate or walk, please visit www.2daywalk.org.