In the sports arena, the expression walk it off means to keep playing even when youre hurt. In the real world it means that if youre too sedentary and dont walk it off, youll probably wind up hurt - by obesity, diabetes, atrophied muscles, heart disease, stroke, depression, and other maladies - both physical and psychological - that can be caused by an inactive lifestyle.
In tandem with First Lady Michelle Obamas Lets Move program, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has launched a new campaign to encourage all of us to get off our duffs and move our butts. Only about 50 percent of us get enough daily exercise to avoid developing chronic, debilitating diseases related to sedentary living. The Surgeon Generals plan, called Step It Up, urges us to be proactive now so that well all be healthier as we get older.
Dr. Murthy not only wants us to step it up, he wants us to step in and work with our various communities to create more pedestrian-friendly environments - more green spaces, parks, and sidewalks; we can pitch in and clean up neighborhoods to make them safer and more inviting. The Step It Up campaign is enthusiastic and progressive. Theres even a playlist on Pandora!
Windows Of Opportunity
We can walk to school, walk to the train station, and take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Take a hike in the woods or stroll through the park. If your work schedule is tight, why not conduct a meeting while walking around the block? Push a stroller or wheelchair for a child or an elderly loved one; or take your dog for a leisurely ramble. Call a couple of friends and walk around your favorite mall - inside and outside.
Walking Works Wonders
According to health care professionals, adults need about 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Walking totally fits the bill! You dont need special skills. You dont need expensive equipment. And although theyre nice to have, you dont even need special clothes or shoes. All you need is a consult with your primary care physician to make sure he or she vets your new action plan, and then spring into action! Step out and step it up!