In mid-June 2013, my travels took me to our nation’s capital, Washington DC. I was there to participate in an expert panel meeting for the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Cities. The meeting was held at the beautiful Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, which features an 80 foot interactive touch screen wall dedicated to the health benefits of walking. It is very exciting to have America’s leading physician, U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, taking up the cause for getting Americans walking. By issuing a Call to Action, she will ask multiple sectors of society to work towards a goal of getting all Americans walking daily to improve their health.
Walking (or rolling) really is the perfect exercise and the single best thing a person can do to improve their health. For most, it is the first major milestone you strive for as an infant and the last thing you give up at the end of your life. It is our most important and efficient mode of transportation and a great way to have fun, socialize and see the world. For these reasons and more, America needs to support walking and walkable cities, to make walking the easy, safe and convenient way for all of us to get around.
That is why the Every Body Walk! initiative was started and why it has become the center piece of the Surgeon General’s led Call to Action to get America Walking. The meeting was organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was a great success. We worked on a multi-sector plan that will target various areas of society to support walking. It will include things like encouraging more walking paths, to increased emphasis on walking in schools, to having doctors prescribe walking in lieu of medication where possible. In short, we looked at ways to promote walking across all sectors of society today. Obviously, this will be a big task and will take time and resources to accomplish, but it is a task worthy of great effort because the stakes are so high.
And of course I took time to do some walking while I was in Washington DC. In fact I had a nice walk and talk with Dr. Benjamin herself. Walking meetings are a great way to get work done and gain health benefits at the same time. If the upcoming Surgeon General’s Call to Action goes as planned, we hope that walking meetings will become the standard way for meeting’s to be held across the country.
Keep walking my friends!