The latest report by the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, “A Walking Revolution: A Movement Making Americans Happier and Healthier”, discusses the positive aspects of walking and examines potential health benefits and consequences for community initiatives and the environment.
This report is the result of a meeting of more than 140 pro-walking representatives which accumulated in a Proposed Call to Action on Walking announcement by US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA.
Here are some health benefits of walking according to the report:
• Major savings in health care costs for families, business and government, which will go a long ways toward relieving the economic crisis. Physical inactivity costs an estimated $177 billion a year in medical costs and accounts for 16 percent of all deaths, according to the American Public Health Association.
• Improved student performance, as seen in a California Department of Education study showing that students who get regular physical activity earn higher SAT scores.
• A stronger sense of community and security. People out walking make our hometowns livelier, safer and more attractive places to live, work, play, shop and invest.
• A stronger sense of place and economic vitality. A vital pedestrian presence is one of the fundamental goals of placemaking — a growing movement to improve neighborhoods and business districts by strengthening their sense of place.
• A step toward social equity, since the benefits of walking can easily be made accessible to people of all incomes, races, ages and levels of ability. Many differently abled people can enjoy good walking facilities, whether walking or rolling. Most trips on public transit begin and/or end with a walk.
• A greater appreciation of local, state and national parks and open space, as well as recreation centers, and other attractive destinations for walking and regular physical activity.