Just Walk is a free, self-directed, self-reported, incentive-based physical activity program for Worcester residents that rewards participants for mileage of physical activity accumulated.
To participate, you simply record the number of miles of physical activity that you have completed and then report the mileage to the Prevention Services Unit of the Worcester County Health Department by calling 410-632-0056.
Organizations, businesses, groups or individuals can participate. Signs promoting Just Walk are springing up throughout the county advertising entities that have signed on to the program. As of January 15, Just Walk members have logged 139,655 miles since the program began 15 years ago.
Based upon the number of miles you accumulate, you can earn a Just Walk sweatshirt, step counter, Just Walk bottle holder, Just Walk reflective zipper pull, stress heart, and a Just Walk t-shirt.
Participants are also rewarded with better health. Walking and regularly physical activity helps control blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, aids in blood pressure management, improves cholesterol levels, increases flexibility, helps maintain a healthy body weight, aids in weight loss, increases strength, improves ability to handle tasks of everyday living, aids in stress management and quitting smoking, and improves sense of well-being.
The Surgeon General recommends that youth and adults accumulate a minimum of 60 and 30 minutes respectively of moderate intensity physical activity every day.
If you have never exercised before, how do you get started? It is always a good idea to check with your physician before starting any new exercise program. Then, you begin by setting short-term goals such as walking for five minutes, three days per week. Gradually build on these goals every week until you are eventually walking 30 minutes on most days of the week.
Simple ways to add more steps to your day include the following:
• Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
• Walk down the hall to relay messages to co-workers rather than using e-mail or the telephone.
• Be more active when doing household chores.
• Mow the lawn with a push mower rather than a riding lawn mower.
• Take a walk on your lunch break or other breaks.
• Park further from your destination and walk.
• Walk your dog- your dog will thank you too!
• Have family fun walks after dinner.
• Walk up and down all aisles in the grocery store or walk the perimeter of the shopping mall.
• Play actively with your children, grandchildren, or your pets.
Remember, participating in three 10-minute bouts of physical activity a day is just as good for your health as participating for 30 continuous minutes. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Let’s try to find 30 of those minutes for physical activity.