Walking relieves stress. There are few people of any age who do not experience some level of disruption in their daily lives. Taking a walk to get the heart pumping harder and the limbs moving. The more physically active people are, the better they feel. Research has proven that exercise can be a dynamic stress reliever.
Walking assists in managing a healthy weight. Regular walking will assist everyone in managing a more healthy weight.
Walking allows for community-wide participation. Walking is for everyone. People of different ages and fitness levels can do it together.
Walking enhances overall mental and physical health. People who walk report feeling more in control, more alert and more positive. People who walk seem to embrace the possibilities of other sorts of health enhancements. In many ways, walking is one small step toward better health.
Walking can be done any time of day. Because the possibilities for walking venues abound, walking can fit your schedule. Have 10 minutes? Take a walk.
Walking is fun. Because of the non-competitive nature of an afternoon or evening walk, people can enjoy themselves and each other. Many people speed up or slow down, depending on how they feel on a given day or on whom they are walking with.
How far and how fast you walk is not an issue in the beginning.
Walk 10+ minutes on 5+ days a week.
Walk briskly, and with a purpose.
Work your way up to 30+ minutes on 5+ days a week.
Fitness level does not matter. Simply get off the couch.
Walking can be done with one piece of equipment – good walking shoes.
Begin with the end in mind. Good health and happiness will result from placing one foot in front of the other on a regular basis.
Enlist support. Enlisting support has been shown to drastically increase your chances of success. Talk about the fact that you’re walking. Others will ask how it’s going, which keeps you motivated.
Walking can be done in groups or alone. You can decide on a daily basis which one suits you.
Don’t let the weather stop you from walking. Explore and find your favorite walking routes for both sunny and rainy weather.
Walking can be done to music, to nature, or to conversation. Your mood can help you determine what is enjoyable on a given day.
Sign up for a walking event like a 5k, 10k walk, or the Honolulu Marathon. Just remember you don’t need to walk an entire marathon to be healthy.
Join a walking club. Commit to at least one group workout a week.
Plan a walking or hiking vacation (and get in shape for it).
Make walking a part of your routine. Walk to work, walk during breaks, take the stairs, walk the kids to school, etc. There are so many opportunities to include small 10+ minute walks into daily routine.
Worksite wellness benefits both the individual and the organization. Check out the Worksite Wellness Toolkit developed and discover what steps you can take to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors at work.
Quick Office Exercises
Try these exercises that you can do in the office. See what other ways you can squeeze a work out into your work day.
Faith-based organizations hold a special place in most communities. Not only do they minister to the spiritual needs of the community, but they also minister to the physical, social, psychological, and economic needs. In addition, many conduct health programs or have incorporated health messages into their traditional programs. Walking programs at faith-based institutions can be a terrific way to reach community members and encourage fellowship. Try these steps for starting a walking program at your church.
Talk to Your Church Leaders
Consult with your church leaders about starting a walking program at the church. If your church has a health committee, enlist their help to determine the walking program format that will work best for your church.
Find a walking route.
Establish meeting times when people can meet and walk. Consider offering different times to accommodate different work and life schedules.
Invite parishioners from neighboring churches to join you. Consider setting special walking times for specific audiences, e.g. seniors, youth, parents.
Think about how will you walk. Will you track your miles on log sheets? Will you make it a competition or make it a spiritual journey by adding scripture readings?
Get Members Involved
There are a number of activities that can be conducted by faith-based organizations to promote your walking program. There are six activities described below.
Bulletin Inserts. Many organizations have a weekly bulletin that is distributed to each person attending the service. An effective way to reach the group is with a message in the bulletin. The organization may create their own insert using the campaign message, or use a flyer or insert created by the campaign staff.
Church Newsletter. An article about the campaign or a Calendar of Events can also be included in the church newsletter.
Walking-Related Sermons or Announcements. Ask faith-based leaders to incorporate a health message into a sermon. A sermon combining a spiritual and physical health message can be an effective way to motivate participants. For example: A pastor could present a sermon on “Walking with Jesus”. This message can be very effective and can inspire the congregation to participate in a prayer walk.
Speakers. A guest speaker is another effective way to inform the congregation. Arrange for a speaker, from the campaign’s Speakers Bureau, to talk with a youth group, women’s group, or prayer group.
Testimonials. Many faith-based organizations have a tradition of personal testimonials from members. This is an especially effective way of encouraging others to make positive changes in their own lives. Encourage members of the congregation who walk regularly and have benefited from walking to share their experiences.
Sign-up Drive. On a designated Sunday, all participating churches tried to recruit walkers to the campaign. One person within the church was designated to gather registration information and forward it to campaign staff.
Ideas for Setting Up Walking Programs in Your Community
Neighborhood Walks. One of the best places to walk is in the neighborhoods where we live. Think about setting up a walking group that meets weekly at the same time of day to walk at a local park or in your neighborhood. Begin walking every week with a friend or two on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm, for example. Get the word out. Place flyers in the neighborhood. Be punctual. At 5:30, leave the designated are and head out for 15 minutes. Turn around and return. Take a minute or two to stretch the legs and call it a day! Everyone has their 30 minutes for the day and at their own pace.
Schools are a great place to walk. Many of them have tracks around the athletic fields. These tracks are usually well light, and provide a safe level surface for walking. School buildings are good places to walk during the rainy season and when it gets dark early. Check with the school principals (and the parent teacher organizations) about whether this might be possible to use the schools for indoor walking.
Work. Of course, we spend as much time at work as in any other aspect of our lives, except sleep (in fact, some folks work far more each week than they sleep!). Start a worksite wellness walking program. Get it done at work. The longer in the day that you wait to exercise, the less likely you will be to do it. You may also want to park your car 10 minutes away from your worksite. That will give you 20 minutes simply going to and returning to your car. Catch a 10-minute walk break instead of a coffee break, and you have your 30 minutes daily. Taking the bus to work will probably give at least an extra 10 to 20 minute walk.
The Step It Up Hawaii media campaign is designed to encourage adults to walk at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Walking 30+ minutes, five days a week is easy when you break it up into three shorter 10 minute walks. Regular walking can give you more energy and make you feel better and look better. Television ads, radio ads, mall ads, posters, news stories and community events statewide all played a role in promoting the walking message.