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Extension plans Walk Day events for May 14

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[May 09, 2007]  In celebration of National Fitness and Sports Month in May, University of Illinois Extension in Logan County is sponsoring Walk Day events on Monday in Lincoln.

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.

MyPyramid, the interactive food guidance system, stresses the importance of daily physical activity such as walking. The system, which incorporates recommendations from the 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.

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 gift certificates from area restaurants.

Walk Day is an annual event in May sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

For further information, please contact Patty Huffer at the Logan County Extension office at 732-8289.

[Text from news release received from Patty Huffer, Logan County Extension Unit]

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