Although walkathons are held year-round (mall-walking makes that possible in wintertime), their popularity is most visible from spring to fall. Sometimes, it's hard to go for a weekend drive without encountering one. The American Heart Association's Heart Walk attracts more than one million participants at more than 600 events each year. WalkAmerica, the biggest fund-raiser for the March of Dimes, is held in 1,100 communities annually.
Most events cover relatively short distances, from 2K (1.25 miles) to 5K (3.1 miles), although some are marathons (26.2 miles) and half-marathons (13.1 miles). By collecting pledges from sponsors, walkers raise millions of dollars every year.
Walkathons inspire many of us, at all ages and levels of fitness, to get involved. Helping a good cause encourages us to lace up those sneakers and step out when we might not otherwise make the effort.
"When you walk just for the sake of walking, few people are truly motivated and keep it up," says Werner W.K. Hoeger, Ed.D., FACSM, professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Performance Laboratory, Boise State University. "If you have a goal in mind, then that motivates you and gets you going. This is beautiful."
Step Up and Walkwill be an amazing community event, rain or shine! Together we are raising awareness of child growth disorders, adult growth hormone deficiency, and raising funds to continue providing critical research, education, support and advocacy.
Human Growth Foundation is 501 (c) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children, and adults with disorders of growth and growth hormone through research, education, support, and advocacy.
HGF is dedicated to helping medical science to better understand the process of growth, including intrauterine growth retardation, Russell-Silver syndrome, Turner's syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Noonan's syndrome, chondroplasias, and more.
--"Starter grants" to encourage research in both physical and psychosocial areas of growth disorders and chondroplasias.
--Discussion Forums for parents of children and adults with growth disorders.
--Awareness/outreach programs to identify and encourage persons with growth disorders to seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
--Quarterly newsletter and multiple booklets, and answers questions from the members and the public in support of the above goals.
--Strong partnerships with highly acclaimed pediatric and adult endocrinologists.
Remember your first step? What a fuss everyone made! And then you continued to walk right on through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood, but somewhere along the way, like most adults, you probably stopped walking so much. In fact, the percentage of adults who spent most of their day sitting increased from 36.8% in 2000 to 39.9% in 2005!
Part of the reason may be your hectic, stressful life, with not a moment to spare for recreation or formal exercise. The environment plays a part too; inactivity has been engineered into our lives, from escalators to remote controls to riding lawn mowers to robotic vacuum cleaners to electric toothbrushes to the disappearance of sidewalks and safe places to walk. But research shows that all this automation is bad for our health. Besides the main reason to Step Up and Walk on April 21st...let's look at a few other top reasons to walk...
Walking prevents type 2 diabetes.The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%.
Walking strengthens your heart if you're male. In one study, mortality rates among retired menwho walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day.
Walking strengthens your heart if you're female.Women in the Nurse's Health Study (72,488 female nurses) who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.
Walking is good for your brain. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!
Walking is good for your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression as measured with a standard depression questionnaire by 47%.
Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Women who performed the equivalent of one hour and 15 minutes to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking had an 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer, and even if an individual person develops colon cancer, the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing mortality.
Walking improves fitness. Walking just three times a week for 30 minutes can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness.
Walking in short bouts improves fitness, too! A study of sedentary women showed that short bouts of brisk walking (three 10-minute walks per day) resulted in similar improvements in fitness and were at least as effective in decreasing body fatness as long bouts (one 30-minute walk per day).
Walking improves physical function. Research shows that walking improves fitness and physical function and prevents physical disability in older persons.
The list goes on, but if I continued, there'd be no time for you to start walking! Suffice to say that walking is certainly good for you!