Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 1, 2013

National Walking Day is Wednesday

American Heart Association encourages wearing sneakers, walking 30 minutes during workday

Staff report
The Independent

LOUISVILLE — Studies show for every hour of vigorous physical activity, one can gain an average of two hours of life expectancy.

Regular physical activity, such as walking, is critical to maintaining a healthy heart, which is why the American Heart Association encourages Kentuckians to begin a 30-minute walking routine on National Walking Day. On Wednesday, individuals and company groups are encouraged to wear tennis shoes to work and get moving for a healthier heart.

National Walking Day is a part of “My Heart. My Life.” The program is the association’s groundbreaking movement to help Americans live a healthier lifestyle through increased physical activity and healthy eating.

Workplaces have proven to be important environments to foster a culture for exercise because Americans work 164 more hours per year than 20 years ago and jobs have become increasingly sedentary. In January 2010, the association defined the seven key factors to ideal cardiovascular health. Physical activity is one of those factors, but only 15 percent of American adults achieve the association’s recommended levels of moderate aerobic exercise (150 or more minutes per week). National Walking Day encourages all Americans to get started on a regular walking program as a way to achieve their physical activity goals and to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 30 percent.

“The association is committed to getting people engaged in physical activity so they can live longer, healthier lives,” said Erika Furlong, the association’s senior heart walk director.

“More than 67 percent of American adults are considered overweight and obese and nearly 70 percent are not engaging in regular physical activity. Just a few extra steps a day is a simple and easy way to take an active role in maintaining a significantly healthier life,” Furlong said.

National Walking Day and the “My Heart. My Life.” platform are sponsored by Subway and Jenny Craig.