If you’ve allowed your fitness resolutions for the New Year to lapse, National Walking Day is the opportunity to rekindle your goals. (No excuses this time!) The American Heart Association is the sponsor of this day, held on the first Wednesday of April each year. Beyond the health benefits that walking can provide, it is a great way to reconnect with friends and family too. And with National Walking Day in the spring, people can’t use lousy winter weather around New Year’s Day as an reason to stay indoors. (See? We said no excuses.)
National Walking Day Activities
1. Walk for 30 minutes
Sometimes the most obvious answer is the best one. The AHA suggests that people spend at least 30 minutes walking on National Walking Day … and no one wants to disappoint the AHA. Additionally, 30 minutes of walking is a good starting point. Even if walking feels good and you feel like you could go longer, you don’t want to overdo it the first day and end up with sore muscles for the next week.
2. Grab some friends and family
If you’re looking for a way to have quality time with friends and family, walking will do it. Leave the smartphones at home or on silent mode in a pocket, and enjoy the quality time while receiving some exercise. (The kids may hate the idea, but getting to enforce rules they hate is why you’re the boss.)
3. Find a new trail
If you’re already an semi-regular walker, try a new path. Consider visiting a new city park or try walking through the local zoo. Give yourself a change in scenery as a National Walking Day gift. Walking is a great way to notice little things because you aren’t going as fast as you would be on a bicycle or when jogging, so a new trail can be a real treat.
Why We Love National Walking Day
A. It’s an excuse to go outside
Winter time is over, the temperatures are rising, and we all want to feel the sun on our faces again. But some of us need extra motivation to go outside and enjoy the weather. National Walking Day does the trick. And once you start walking in the spring weather regularly, it’ll hopefully become a habit.
B. You don’t need a lot of equipment
If you want to spend the spring golfing or cycling, you’re going to need a lot of equipment. And the costs will compile quickly. But with walking, as long as you have a comfortable pair of shoes, you’re ready to go. (But if you want to purchase some new workout gear to give you extra motivation to keep up your walking routine, we won’t judge you.)
C. Walking is healthy
The American Heart Association began supporting National Walking Day because of the health benefits of walking. Through a steady program of walking, you’ll see lower blood pressure, weight loss, and improved strength. And who couldn’t use improvements in all three? For those who have knee or other joint problems, walking is a great alternative to jogging in terms of limiting stress on those joints.