The first Friday in April is National Walk To Work Day. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy G. Thompson, declared this day in 2004. Americans are encouraged to walk to work, or if this is not feasible, to at least walk for 30 minutes.
Sustained walking of at least 30 minutes will reduce health risks and promote heart health, lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol), and raise HDL levels (good cholesterol). Walking can also increase life expectancy and help to strengthen hip bones.
The American Heart Association lists these walking benefits:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Improve blood lipid profile.
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity.
- Enhance mental well being.
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.