Friday, April 25, 2008

On Wednesday, we'll walk to lunch

A simple lunchtime walk can lead to a lifetime of better fitness.

Businesses around Alabama - with a nudge from Blue Cross and Blue Shield - will encourage their employees to don their sneakers at lunchtime on Wednesday, April 30. The occasion is the second annual Walk @ Lunch Day, established to dramatize the benefits of a daily walk and promote a healthy habit.

Last year's National Walk @ Lunch Day drew thousands of participants in 46 states, and Blue Cross is hoping it will catch on in Alabama, according to James Brown, senior vice president-customer information services.

"It's a great way to spend a lunch hour, it doesn't take a lot of equipment, and it doesn't cost anything. And if you spend your time getting some exercise rather than eating a high-calorie meal, that's just another plus," Brown said. "A lot of people don't realize it, but walking a mile burns about the same number of calories as running a mile."

And with companies and individuals alike concerned about rising health care costs, a simple walk daily walk can have a big impact, according to Brown.

"The reality is that more than 60 percent of Americans don't get the exercise they need, and that's probably conservative," Brown said. "If people will just try it one day, they'll realize it's a painless, pleasant way to work in some activity, which can help them control their weight, develop healthier hearts, and strengthen their bones. Plus, you feel really good about yourself all afternoon."

(Cynic's view: You feel good about yourself all afternoon as long as you're not walking outside in the heart of Alabama's summer, are a woman who'll then have to re-apply makeup, fix your hair, change clothes and such....)