Did you know that Maryland has an official state exercise? It’s true! In 2008 Maryland designated walking as the state exercise. It is similar to other state designations like the state bird (the Oriole) or the state flower (Black-Eyed Susan). To celebrate walking, Maryland also set aside October 2 as Walk Maryland Day. If you would like to see how people all over the state celebrated, check out #WalkMarylandDay on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
With so many people getting out and taking a walk, I thought now would be a great time to talk about two things:
- Why I love to walk
- How walking is beneficial
I have always loved going for walks. As a kid, my family and I lived down the street from our Post Office. When it was time to get the mail, my brother and sister and I would all go along. According to my dad, the walk should have taken about 2 minutes, but would regularly take more than 10. My siblings and I would search for oddly shaped leaves, jump over cracks in the sidewalk, and stop to chat with neighbors. On weekends, we would sometimes walk to the baseball field about a half mile down the road. I have so many great memories of walking up and down those sidewalks with my family.
As an adult, I still love to walk. My husband and I take our dog, Dakota, for regular walks all over our neighborhood. We get to enjoy the changing weather, talk about our day, and Dakota gets to smell all sorts of new things! For me, it is a time to relax and enjoy the day.
What’s really great about walking is that it is good for you too! Walking is a great way to be physically active. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, and walking can be a great way to get your minutes! Although physical activity in general is good for your health, walking specifically has been connected to some great health benefits. For example, one study found that people who walked regularly were less likely to get sick and another found that people who walked regularly prevented arthritis!
Not everyone has easy access to a great place to walk. Sidewalks, street lights, shade trees, and other ways we design our communities can make them feel like better places to walk. On the other hand, uneven ground, litter, and roads with no area to walk can discourage people from walking. Want to see how walkable your neighborhood is? Check out this tool from Walk Maryland!
Using the tool, you can get an idea of the walkability for your area. If you notice changes that could be made to improve walkability, you could talk with officials in your area about making improvements!
I hope you can find some time over the next few weeks to get out and walk wherever you have the ability to do so!