How to Put Some Spring in Your Step This April



Spring is finally here and we can once again welcome warmer weather and longer days. Shake off the cold winter months and celebrate the season of new beginnings by going outside and getting active! Not sure how to begin those first steps on your journey to better health? Consider participating in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day, an annual spring event that raises awareness about the importance of being physically active. 
National Walking Day 2016 takes place on Wednesday April 6th and participants commit to walk for at least 30 minutes to promote physical activity and well-being in their communities. Why walking? Walking is a great exercise whether you are just beginning a more active lifestyle, or are regularly physically active.  There are many positive reasons to start walking:

  • Walking reduces the risk of many diseases.  Walking for just 30 minutes a day can help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease, improve your blood pressure, and enhance your mental well-being. 
  •  Walking does not require special equipment or advanced athletic skills in order to achieve these amazing health benefits.
  •  Walking is a low-cost and easy way to increase your energy, prevent weight gain, and reduce your risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and obesity.  
With so many great reasons to take part in National Walking Day, why not encourage others to walk with you? Invite members of your workplace, school, and faith-based organization, as well as friends and family to join in on the fun! The American Heart Association’s website provides a resource guide and toolkit to help you plan for the event whether you are participating as an individual or as part of a group. The toolkit also includes a four week action plan for those who want to extend the fun for the whole month. More information on National Walking Day can be found at www.heart.org/WalkingDay.
  
Need more inspiration? Walking is the state exercise of Maryland! Visit University of Maryland Extension’s Walk MD! website to find helpful online tools such as an interactive map to track your steps and take you on a virtual walking tour around the state of Maryland. Recording your steps can be a great way to track your progress and motivate you to stay active!  For more information on resources found through the Walk MD! program visit www.extension.umd.edu/walkmd

So say farewell to those winter blues by lacing up your sneakers and heading outdoors! Sunny days and better health are right around the corner and just a few feet away.
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall