MyPyramid, the interactive
food guidance system released a year ago in April, stresses the
importance of daily physical activity such as walking. The system,
which incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines
for Americans, has the central message of "Steps to a Healthier
You." For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or
vigorous and add up to at least 30 minutes a day.
Walking is the best way to start a new fitness program this
spring because almost everyone can do it, it's free, and it's easy.
Evidence about health benefits from walking is stacking up.
A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that women
who walk at least a mile a day reduce their chance of losing bone
density as they age. Health experts tout physical fitness in general
as having many benefits, including an association with a decreased
risk of breast cancer, improved cardiovascular health, and lowered
resting pulse rate and blood pressure. Exercise also helps to
increase muscle tone, improves sleep habits, regulates appetite and
reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.
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Area residents are invited to participate in local Walk Day
events by walking Monday at Scully Park in downtown Lincoln, either
over the lunch hour, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., or at the end of
the day, between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
The first 50 participants in each time frame will receive free
bottled water provided by Culligan. The first 20 participants will
also receive a free sun visor. Participants may also register to win
a pedometer or gift certificates from area restaurants.
Walk Day is an annual May event sponsored by University of
Illinois Extension. For further information about how to get
involved next year, please contact Patty Huffer at the Logan County
Extension office at 732-8289.
[News release by Patty Huffer,