Activist Wednesday: I’m Walkin’…
Posted January 8, 2014on:
Well well well, look what I found in MadamaB’s Mailbox yesterday! It’s a new miracle drug that can help prevent many of our top killer diseases of today. And you know, it won’t cost you a darn thing.
Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis, a family practitioner at a Kaiser Permanente clinic in Fontana, California. It’s been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety, and osteoporosis, Sallis told leaders at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.
“The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.”
Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones, as well as looking and feeling better.
Now we’ve all heard for years that walking is good for you. I’ve heard many variations on this theme, including one recommendation from the Wellness advocates at my company: wear a pedometer and track your steps per day. But I’ve always thought that an amount of time was the best measurement of how much exercise you should be doing, and by far, the easiest to accomplish. I may be a detail-oriented semi-control freak, but even I don’t find the thought of tracking each step I take very appealing. A half an hour, though? Yeah, I can do that.
But walking isn’t just good medicine and good sense. And I’m not here to preach to you all about walking half an hour a day, since I know that wouldn’t be possible for some of you (although, I think I ‘m going to add it to my exercise repertoire on a more regular basis). It’s also a new movement. You knew there was a reason it was in an Activist Wednesday post!
The 2013 Walking Summit focused on how to encourage more Americans to walk, and how to make communities across the country more walkable. Scott Bricker, executive director of America Walks, a coalition of 470 organizations nationwide, joked that the ultimate goal was to make “sitting the new smoking.” His ambitious vision for 2020 is that all Americans walk enough each day to enjoy health benefits and that all communities provide a safe, comfortable environment for people to walk.
Vanessa Garrison, co-founder of Girl Trek, which organizes walking groups for African-American women and girls to “improve their health and heal their communities,” opened the summit by announcing, “Neighbor, we’ve got work to do!”
Garrison emphasized that walking should be a natural part of our daily lives, rather than something we add on specifically for exercise, health or recreation. “I have the pleasure of walking every day to the store, the dry cleaners, the post office, to the park with my husband. That’s no accident,” she said. It’s the result of deliberate urban planning that locates important destinations within walking distance—a traditional common-sense idea called walkability, which is at the heart of making our communities more safe, comfortable, and convenient for walking.
I am very encouraged by this new movement, especially the part that involves urban re-design to make communities walkable throughout the country. I know that walkability is a huge part of why we moved to our current location (hubby walks to the train station to commute), and why New York can be such a great place to live. It’s a vision I am very glad to see people fighting for, and the best part? It seems fairly politically bullet-proof. I mean, I don’t put anything past the Tea Partiers, but even they shouldn’t be able to find anything wrong with using the legs Gawd gave us to perambulate around the neighborhood. That seems very patriotic and full of “American Exceptionalism” to me. 🙂
Meanwhile, America Walks has some worthy organizations as members, Widdershins. For today, it would be great if you took a look at the AmericaWalks.org website and see if there are any listed there that strike your fancy, and are worthy of either membership, or a small donation, or both.
This is an ambulatory, open thread.
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