From September to Walktober

As September comes to a close, many of us start thinking about fall flavors, fall leaves, fall temperatures, and fall physical activity!

Okay, the fall physical activity one might seem a little strange. But, as the calendar gets closer to October, I get excited about walking! Every October, Maryland celebrates Walk Maryland Day! Walking is actually the official state exercise of Maryland (you can read more about that and why I love walking here). This year, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), is expanding the celebration from one day to the entire month of October!

Walktober will focus on pedestrian safety, health, community programs, and ways to commute by walking. You can check out their website, http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/walktober, for more information. There are two exciting ways anyone can get involved with Walktober and Walk Maryland Day. 

First, MDOT will be hosting free ‘Walkinars’ every Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Each Walkinar will include a panel of excellent speakers and focus on walking-related topics, including advancing walkability, pedestrian safety, walking technology, and community initiatives.

Second, you can register to be a Group Walk Leader! MDOT is asking anyone interested in promoting walking in their community to sign up as a Walk Leader. If you sign up as a Walk Leader, you then plan a walk, (either for a private group or open to the community) and encourage others to join you for that walk. Here are some examples of ways you could be a Walk Leader:

  • Talk with your employer about planning a walk near your workplace. Then, encourage coworkers to join you for a walk. Consider planning it before work, during break time, or after work, depending on your schedule
  • Plan a walk with your family members. If there is a location where it is convenient to meet, plan to meet there and walk together. 
  • Plan a walk for your community. You could find a place to walk in your community and encourage neighbors and friends to join you for a walk. 

Walking is great exercise and can be accessible for even someone who is new to physical activity. Among the many benefits of walking is that it’s a great activity for our current era of social distancing. So, make sure that while you are walking, you are following all local regulations including keeping proper social distancing and wearing a mask. Especially now, the physical and mental health benefits of walking have the potential to improve the lives of so many Marylanders! 

We here at the University of Maryland Extension are excited to be partnering with MDOT during Walktober and are looking forward to getting outside and celebrating Walktober! Sign up for the walkinars or to be a Walk Leader at https://extension.umd.edu/walkmd.

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