BY COSHANDRA DILLARD, firstname.lastname@example.org
A group gathered Tuesday at City Hall to walk to downtown, commemorating what city officials deemed Tyler Walking Day, another initiative of the Fit City Challenge.
Mayor Barbara Bass read an official proclamation and also encouraged the community to set out to walk today in observance of the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day.
In her proclamation, Mayor Bass said that 68 percent of American adults, or more than 154 million, are overweight or obese. She also noted that one in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease. More working hours — about 164 more than 20 years ago — and an 83 percent increase in sedentary jobs since 1950 may be a factor in Americans’ health statuses.
Mayor Bass emphasized the importance of public awareness about obesity as well encouraging others to make lifestyle changes.
“This is about us doing this together as a community,” she said.
Brandi Russell, corporate market director with the American Heart Association, encourages people to walk to combat chronic illness.
“As (today) is National Walking Day, please take your family out to walk,” she said. “Please encourage your loved ones to start living a healthy lifestyle. ... Today is a fresh start for everyone.”
The benefits of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity are numerous, including a reduction in blood pressure and improved circulation.
“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women,” Ms. Russell said. “If you don’t have a healthy lifestyle it could increase your blood pressure or blood sugars. We definitely want to decrease both of those.”
Bob Gardner, who works at Northeast Texas Public Health District in animal and mosquito control, does a power walk every day as part of a major weight loss program. He joined the walk to support the Fit City initiative.
“We’re definitely trying to participate in this to make a public awareness,” he said. “NET Health is extremely supportive of those who are trying to improve our personal health and well-being. That makes a tremendous difference. They’re encouraging us to participate in these activities, but their making it available where we can participate.”
Lillie Walton joined the walk Tuesday and is making exercise a habit.
“I walk for my health,” she said.
Also a NET Health employee, she takes advantage of fitness programs at her job, including a 10-minute workout. She said one doesn’t have to spend a lot of time doing rigorous exercise to get fit.
“It may be just me, but I like to take short, little walks instead of pushing it for two or three miles,” she said. “It makes you feel better.”
To get resources for National Walking Day for your company, community organization, school or yourself as an individual, register at http://bit.ly/1eTI3qy for the free toolkit.
To register for the 2014 Tyler Heart Walk on Dec. 31, go to MyHeartMyLife.org. There, registrants also will be able to utilize AHA’s Walking Clubs and Walking Paths.