My dad has been walking for 98 years, and attributes his longevity mostly to consistent physical activity. At 99, he still works outdoors every day and walks to the beach.
The human body is meant to walk; physical movement keeps our hearts, muscles, bones, lungs and brains healthy. Yet the average American walks (or engages in other aerobic activities) less than 30 minutes a day. Remaining sedentary for those other 23½ hours can lead to obesity and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
About 80% of Americans do not get the CDC-recommended weekly 150 hours (30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, and 70% of adults are overweight or obese. According to William W. Dexter, M.D., president of the American College of Sports Medicine, “Research leaves no doubt that being active is a key to maintaining fitness and a healthy weight.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents get one hour or more of physical activity each day. According to recent data, our kids get far less than the recommended amount of vigorous exercise and are less physically active now than any previous generation. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are overweight or obese. Insufficient physical activity can contribute to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which are showing up in children at an increasing rate. Research suggests that physically active kids are more likely to become healthy, active adults, underscoring the importance of developing the habit of regular physical activity early.
Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the exercise they need each day, while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime. October 9 was International “Walk to School Day,” a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. Over time, this event has galvanized visibility for walking and bicycling to school and has been part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school. This year, the Ventura Unified School District is sponsoring “Walktober,” emphasizing walking activities for the entire month.
The City of Ventura has received funding from Safe Routes to School Partnership, an organization that provides grants for sidewalk improvements and other enhancements to walking routes. Local projects have included:
1. Ventura High School – bike lanes on Main St, bike and skateboard racks on campus, and curb extension at crosswalk on Poli Street
2. Anacapa Middle School – bike lanes on Telegraph Road, new traffic signal at Telegraph Road and College Drive, new bike corral on campus, and crosswalk improvements on Telegraph Road at Glen Ellen Drive
3. Balboa Middle School and Mound School – bike path along Telegraph Road
4. Sidewalk and access ramps by EP Foster, Loma Vista, Pierpont, Saticoy and Sheridan Way Elementary Schools
So, let’s all get moving! It’s good for you and for our environment. Walking at least 30 minutes a day (for kids, 60 minutes of active play) will help keep you healthy, AND you can enjoy Ventura’s many parks, trails, beaches and safe routes to school.
For more information, see www.everybodywalk.org.
Source: Ventura Breeze
October 10, 2013
By Christy Weir