Last weekend, I had the privilege of walking in the 2018 American Heart Association Lehigh Valley Heart Walk along thousands of other individuals. Signs plastered around the track promote the American Heart Association’s campaign, asking participants the simple question – Why do you walk? The answer can be anything, but ultimately, life is why.
As I walked around the track, I looked at the individuals around me thinking, “Why are you walking? What is your story? I have a story on why I am here so you must too. ”This question and concept got me literally thinking:
Why do we walk?
It’s a random question, I know, but I want everyone to stop and think for two seconds about why they walk each day, and how frequently you do so. Are you walking out of necessity – to get to work and around town? Is walking your daily dose of exercise? Or do you try to walk as little as possible, parking your car in the first parking space and taking the elevator every opportunity you get? If you answered yes to that last question, we need to talk.
Now think about this: Did you know walking every day can reduce your risk for heart disease, the #1 killer of males and females worldwide?
According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of walking a week does not only prevent weight gain and improve your energy, but also:
- Reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
- Improves your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
- Improves your mental and emotional well-being.
- Boosts bone strength and reduces your risk of osteoporosis¹.
That’s just 20 minutes a day! 20 minutes of walking around your neighborhood with friends and family. 20 minutes of taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking a little further away from the store next time you run errands. I’ll even count the 20 minutes of walking around Target buying things you never knew you needed (but wanted oh so badly!)
Now I want everyone to think about who they walk for. I hate to say it, but in this day in age, everyone has a person to walk for. Breast Cancer. LLS. Arthritis. ALS. Diabetes. You name it, and someone in your circle of trust has unfortunately been affected by one of the many diseases that plague this world. If walking is something we do on a regular basis to commute, to run errands, or for exercise, then why aren’t more people walking for a cause and raising awareness for health issues that so many of us face.
I’ll stop putting the pressure and spotlight on you, and instead answer the question, “Why do I walk?” I walk for my mama.
My mom recently passed away from congestive heart failure. These last few years, her health started declining until one day I received a phone call that changed my life. At 24 years old, I never knew all the details on America’s #1 killer, but you best believe that I know them now. I know that living a healthy and active lifestyle can go a long way, and that making simple lifestyle changes – eating, sleeping and exercise – can make a difference in your life.
What’s the point of this blog post? To be honest – It’s whatever you want to make of it. If you can take anything away from my babble it would be:
- Walk with a purpose: Don’t walk because it’s a chore or a necessity in your life. Don’t drag your feet and go through the simple motions. Take time out of your day to make these active decisions, like walking up the stairs or walking around the neighborhood. Be more conscientious of your actions, and don’t skip out on any opportunity for a few extra steps.
- Walk for those who cannot anymore: My passion and interest in the 2018 Heart Walk was a way to memorialize my mom, but to also walk for the thousands of individuals who cannot walk with us anymore and build awareness around these health issues. If that concept is too generalized for you, find a cause that you’re passionate about because of a family member or friend, a work charity function or a philanthropy that you were involved with in college. That connection keeps you going, both physically as well emotionally.