Ever heard of Laila Ali? She is the daughter of boxer champ and legend Muhammad Ali. She is also former boxing champ herself and a mom of a toddler and stepmom to three older children. 33-year old Ali is currently the spokesperson of the National Start! Walking Day which started last Wednesday, April 7.
What is Start! Walking Day?
It is an initiative of the American Heart Association (AHA) to encourage Americans to get moving. There a lot of reasons why such a campaign is necessary. A November 2009 AHA survey revealed the following:
- Almost 67% of Americans are overweight or obese.
- About 58% of Americans surveyed by AHA would like to make some changes towards a healthier lifestyle, including more exercise and better diet management.
- However, 54% of Americans find all sorts of excuses not to exercise.
- “Lack of time” is most common excuse, cited by 39% of those surveyed.
The Start! Walking Day aims to bring down the barriers to a healthier lifestyle and address the excuses put forward. It gives some simple and easily done tips on how get moving. It also xxx the help of celebrities such as Laila Ali to spread the word. Some of these simple tips are:
- Walk 30 minutes at your workplace.
- Walk up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Leave the car home. Walk or cycle instead.
- When taking the bus or train, get off one or two stops early and walk the rest.
What are the benefits of walking?
Excess weight which is caused by wrong diet and sedentary lifestyle increases the risk for cardiovascular disorders and type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise can reduce your risk for heart disease by 30%
- 1 hour of walking gain 2hours of life expectancy
- 30 minutes of walking everyday is recommended. Less is not optimal but can still bring health benefits.
Tools and resources for walkers, joggers, and runners:
- For the techno savvy who’d rather be moving fingers on the keyboard or keypad than move their legs, use technology to motivate you to move. Try out some cool SmartPhone apps in real time. Check out our posts on phone apps for runners, which work for walkers and bikers as well.
- AHA’s Better U program is a FREE 12-week online nutrition and fitness program that can makeover your heart. Each week will focus on a different area and provide step-by-step guidance. You’ll have access to everything from daily expert tips and an online journal to a downloadable BetterMe coaching tool.
- My Start! Walking Plan is a personalized exercise plan developed by the American Council on Exercise and the AHA.
- Start! Waling Daily Walking Guide uses social media to help you achieve your goals and find walking “sole” mates.