Take a Walk in the Park - Start a Walking Plan!

It’s officially Spring and with that comes all sorts of incentives to get outside; better weather, the promise of more sunshine and of course National Walk in the Park Day! On March 30th is the annual observance of National Take a Walk in the Park Day. So how can you celebrate this Tuesday? Here are four reasons we should all get walking on March 30th and keep moving through April.

1. Maintain Fitness with Type 2 

Walking 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of many conditions including heart disease, depression, obesity and osteoporosis while also improves our glucose control!  We know that exercise helps our muscles absorb sugar, and daily exercise over time can prevent buildup in our bloodstream. 

Use National Take a Walk in the Park Day to kick off a month long walking routine! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equal combination of moderate and vigorous activity. 

How: Make a plan to take a 30 minute walk, 5 days a week for a month. Start on March 30th and continue it through April! Challenge yourself to get outside in the fresh air.  Give yourself this 30 minutes a day. 

  • Pick your days of the week and set aside the time.
  • Reach out to your family or friends to join.
  • Put on your sunscreen and a hat.
  • Set out your walking shoes, outfit and a big bottle of water.

Tip: Many people find that tracking their steps is a motivator and helps to gauge your activity every day. Fitness trackers/pedometers come in a variety of forms and price ranges. Find a pedometer that is right for you. The average adult measures about 2,000 steps per mile and a usual pace of 3-4 miles per hour. Read more about starting out counting your daily steps. 

*Before starting a new physical health plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you're older than age 40 and you've been inactive recently.

2. Be Social AND Socially Responsible During 2021

Get walking to be outside and be social. One of our biggest losses this last year was losing our ability to gather safely. The good news is that walking in the park is a low-risk social activity with great benefits! 

Having a friend join or making new friends walking increases motivation, and accountability to continue your plan and stick with it. You can push and challenge each other throughout the month, exchanging ideas and hopefully some good air high-five’s!

In addition to motivation and accountability, your chats during the walk will cause your body to burn more calories, increase your metabolism and boost your mood! Who doesn’t want this bonus in their 30 minute pick me up?

Tip: Find a walking group. Search the internet for type 2 diabetes weight loss groups like Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together

3. Spend Time with Your Family

Many of us have been working, socializing and interacting on screens from seated positions for the last year and a half.  Hopefully you have had some quality time with your family, but much of it has been in the house. It’s time to break out for some walks!

This excessive time indoors can inhibit motor skills, cause eye problems, and weight gain. 

Engaging in healthy activities like a 30 minute walk each day, will improve mental and physical health, reduce stress, boost self confidence and help foster healthier relationships. 

Family walks can give you the quality time to foster better interpersonal skills, bringing you closer together and develop better communication. 

4. Support your National, State, and County Parks!

Our parks are a treasure, get out and enjoy them!

Our parks give us a safe, affordable (or free), beautiful place to be able to appreciate nature while we nurture our health. On National Take a Walk in the Park Day, look for ways you can give back to your park systems through volunteering, or donations. 

The National Recreation and Park Association states that, “Parks and public lands serve an essential role in preserving natural resources and wildlife habitats, protecting clean water and clean air, and providing open space for current and future generations. Parks provide an essential connection for Americans of all ages and abilities to the life‐enhancing benefits of nature and the outdoors.” 

This month, find new routes to take.  Sure we all love our tried and true path, but it can become repetitive. Try the road less taken! Work with your buddy(ies) to find new trails, and new parks. This plan should be a journey and an adventure!

For more information on healthy living and controlling and treating diabetes, join our free diabetes support group: Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together. Get out there on Tuesday, March 30th for National Take a Walk in the Park Day and share your photos with us #TakeAWalkInTheParkDay! . Continue your walking plan through the month to maximize your health, family and community benefits and share in the love of our park systems!