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Get Up and Move, National Walking Day, April 2

At the Park
Catherine Al-Meten

Get Up and Move, National Walking Day, April 2

Get up and move is this year’s theme for National Walking Day. The American Heart Association encourages everyone to lace up their sneakers and take 30 minutes out of the day to walk.The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women ongoing campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart health, is sponsoring National Walking Day on April 2, 2014. With so many people spending more time working than ever before, it is time to create some habits to improve our health. Many of us work all day at computer screens, and then come home to rest in front of other electronic devices to relax.

Creating healthy habits that get us moving, is one step we can take to break the cycle of physical inactivity.

Get others involved. Consider one of the following ways to get your coworkers, employees, friends, and family involved.

  • Invite your coworkers to wear their sneakers to work, and consider taking a walk on their lunch break.
  • Make one of your meetings a walking meeting. Get out of the office, into the fresh air, and have a conversation as you walk.
  • Host a walk or rally in your community or with your friends and family to show your support for encouraging heart health. Invite the whole family, getting your children and grandchildren involved in establishing a regular walking habit.
  • Get a National Walking Day toolkit and learn more about how important it is to get regular physical activity. Volunteer to help organize a Get Up and Walk event with your children’s or grandchildren’s school. Even a walk around the playground, a walk to the park, or a walk to the local library can become part of this event.
  • Walk to do your chores. San Francisco is a great walking city, and it’s easy to walk to the post office, dinner, library, park, or to your friend’s home. Instead of getting in the car, bundle up and head out on foot to take care of business, and to enjoy the day. Walking allows you to slow down the pace of life a bit, and to get the exercise you need as well.
  • Get Healthy. Poor lifestyles, inactivity, and bad habits are major factors in the rate of heart disease. One in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart problems. You can make changes to make sure you are doing your best to improve your health.
  • Use the walking paths, school tracks, local health clubs, yoga, pilates, and exercise classes throughout the City for regular exercise.
  • Make exercise part of your daily practices (walk or bike to work, walk or swim before or after work, play more with your friends and families on weekends).
  • Make exercise part of your social and work life. If you are a student, build in time to get outside and move even when your schedule and study load is heavy. Take breaks between assignments, and move around every hour when working on longer projects. Use the stairs instead of the elevators when you can, get out of the office regularly, and walk around during the day. Stand up, do some stretches, do some yoga poses at your desk if you can’t get outside. Most of us aren’t chained to our desks, and if we make an effort and make it an important priority, there are ways we can build the habit of more movement into our lives. Think about two or three ways you could add some movement into your day.
  • Pack heart-healthy snacks and lunches, and get out and walk at lunch time. Find a nice place to eat your lunch, maybe do a little meditating or people watching, and then get back up on your feet, and walk some more.
  • Take a meditation walk once in a while. One of my favorite practices is the Meditation Walk. For 5 minutes walk in one direction. Have a destination in mind (the Embarcadero Walk or the top of the hill), and walk at your regular pace, as far as you can walk in 5 minutes. When you reach your destination, turn around and walk back at half the pace of the first part of the walk. Notice the difference in how you feel, what you observe, and what it feels like to intentionally slow down.
  • Teachers, Parents, and Grandparents, share the joy and the information. Help your children and grandchildren by setting good examples for them. Talk about health, good eating habits, and the importance of staying active. Children have less of a problem keeping active; however, it is vital that they learn the link between what we begin as children, and what we keep on doing as we continue growing.

However you celebrate National Walking Day on Wednesday April 2, 2014, consider ways you can make intentional activity a higher priority and regular part of your lifestyle and regime to take care of your health. Make walking a regular way to relax, meditate, work out problems, release tension and stress, and enjoy feeling more connected to the beautiful city of San Francisco.

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