Last updated: March 28. 2014 11:37PM -
Courtesy of Activate Allen County

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After the long, cold winter we have all lived through, it shouldn’t take a lot of prodding to get folks outside for a walk. But just in case you are still hesitant to leave the house, there are a couple of great programs to help get you motivated.

Given the extended nature of this winter, most of us may be a bit out of shape. The extra pounds we claimed helped keep us warm in the subzero temps are not taking their toll on our joints and wardrobe. We need some good old-fashioned exercise. Experts will tell you, it’s best to start with something simple. And nothing is simpler than walking.

It just so happens that this Wednesday, April 2, is National Walking Day, a day set aside by the American Heart Association to prompt people to get out and walk. On this day, employees are encouraged to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to give your coworkers a friendly push toward a healthier life.

A brisk lunch-time walk with coworkers isn’t just a good idea. For some of us, it could be a lifesaver. According to the AHA, 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor. And at risk of sounding like a broken record, Allen County is not exactly is great shape. The most recent county health report showed that nearly 70 percent of our adults are overweight or obese. A walk is a good start toward fixing that stat.

Of course, you don’t have to be part of a group at work to walk. You can do it with family, neighbors or even a pet. Or, if you need some motivation, consider getting your church family together to Walk to the Cross.

Walk to the Cross is a program that kicked off last year with Trinity United Methodist Church. The program runs through the Lent season – March 5 through April 18 this year – and the goal is for church walkers to pledge to walk a certain number of miles with a church-wide goal of 6,100 miles, which is the distance from Lima to Jerusalem.

Last year 114 members of Trinity and members from 11 other churches walked a combined 32,000 miles. This year, 13 churches are on board and all others are welcome, said organizer John Foster, associate pastor at Trinity. And despite the programs title, there are no rules on how you cover the miles. Participants are welcome to run and bike or even swim or ski the miles if they choose to.

For the truly ambitious, the Walk to the Cross organizers will host a 5k event on May 3. The entry fee is a bag of food for the food pantry.

If you or your church are interested in joining the Walk to the Cross, you can get ahold of Foster by calling 419-227-0800 or visit the Facebook page Lima Area Walk to the Cross.

For more information on National Walking Day, including some great tips for developing walking programs at work, go to the American Heart Association website at www.startwalkingnow.org.

And, as always, for tips and information about how to make the healthy choice the easy choice here in Allen County, go to www.ActivateAllenCounty.com or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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