This spring, take a break at lunch and go walking! Leave your desk and head outside to enjoy the warming trend and take steps toward a healthier life. On Wednesday, April 25, we celebrated National Walk @ Lunch Day to encourage everyone to make exercise a part of their day.
National Walk @ Lunch Day is an initiative of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regular exercise, even just 30 minutes of walking, can make a big difference in your health and help reduce healthcare costs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the cost to treat chronic illness due to inactive lifestyles is nearly $1,000 per family each year. However the simple act of exercising for at least 30 minutes each day is proven to lower disease risk and improve health.
You can get started any day of the year by bringing or wearing comfortable shoes to work and by encouraging your co-workers to join you for a lunchtime walk. There's no right or wrong way to do this! Just be sure you have a safe area away from traffic. It could be as simple as walking around the building, the parking lot or up and down the stairs. It doesn't matter how you do it or where you do it – the most important thing is to be active for at least 30 minutes. Schools may also take part in this event by encouraging students and teachers to incorporate physical activity into the school day.
Don't stop there! Schools, organizations and businesses everywhere can benefit greatly by encouraging regular wellness activities in the workplace. No matter how large or small, businesses can take simple steps to help employees become more aware of how lifestyle habits affect their health.
Here are some ways to incorporate physical activity at work:
- Walk for 30 minutes during lunch
- Walk to speak with coworkers rather than send an email
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Have a walking meeting instead of sitting down at a table
- Park farther in the parking lot and walk to the building
- Encourage employees to walk to a specific "virtual" location, like the beach, and log their miles to see how far they have gone.
For resources on beginning a walking program, including places to walk, visit the Let's Go Walkin' Mississippi website. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi members can also receive discounts on membership rates at select wellness centers around the state with our Wellness Center Discount Program.