State urges Marylanders to increase fitness by adding walking to lifestyles
October 5 is Walk Maryland Day. Health dept. to help residents #Commit2Ten
Baltimore, MD (October 4, 2016) – Gov. Larry Hogan has declared October 5 as Walk Maryland Day, to encourage Marylanders young and old to take to the streets, trails and parks of the state to enjoy the benefits of walking—the state’s official exercise.
Walk Maryland Day highlights walking as another opportunity to achieve 10 additional minutes of physical activity each day, getting Marylanders one step closer to Governor Hogan’s Pledge to #Commit2Ten. Last year, Governor Hogan made Maryland one of only four states that accepted the Governors’ Pledge to #Commit2Ten. The challenge comes from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Heart Association, and calls on states’ governors 1) to personally incorporate an additional 10 minutes of physical activity each day; 2) to encourage all residents of their states to do the same; and 3) to support greater access to physical activity for kids in school, including physical education classes.
Walking has many health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, research shows walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can help people:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease,
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels,
- Improve blood lipid (cholesterol) profile,
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity,
- Enhance mental well-being,
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis,
- Reduce the risks of breast and colon cancer and
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
On October 5, Marylanders across the state will take steps toward their #Commit2Ten goals, and state leadership will be setting the pace: Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will be joining students and teachers at Rolling Knolls Elementary School in Annapolis for a walking activity, and he will observe how students are “committing to 10” in the classroom. Rolling Knolls will be joined by schools across Maryland that are also promoting regular physical activity by participating in Walk to School Day, which is also October 5. Parents and teachers can get more information about Walk to School Day and find out if your school is registered at http://walkbiketoschool.org.
Older Marylanders will also be partaking in Walk Maryland Day. In Montgomery County, the Departments of Health and Human Services and Parks and Recreation are co-sponsoring a 30-minute walk at the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center. This is just one of the many ways Maryland Seniors are making strides towards the Maryland Department of Aging’s “Million Miles” Campaign, which has been under way since May.
Walking is a great activity, even for busy professionals. State government employees at the State Center Complex in Baltimore City are demonstrating how to be active just 10 minutes at a time. Public Health Deputy Dr. Howard Haft, will be leading a mid-day walk around the State Center Complex and adjacent neighborhood on October 5, in recognition of Walk Maryland Day.
Tracking steps and time walked is a great way to set goals around increasing activity. Maryland residents of all ages are invited to use the University of Maryland Extension’s Walk MD website, at http://walkmaryland.gov, to track miles walked and progress toward a virtual 500-mile walk throughout Maryland.
For more information about Walk Maryland Day or to register for the Walk MD program, visit the University of Maryland Extension’s Walk MD page at https://extension.umd.edu/walkmd.