Stepping out: Area residents take time April 6th for National Walking Day
Sharon White of Batavia walks the path at DeWitt Recreation Area last week before the rain. Wednesday was National Walking Day.
By BRIAN QUINN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Some people were out running Wednesday in Batavia, while others decided to go for a walk — appropriate enough since April 6 was National Walking Day.
Established by the American Heart Association (AHA) and celebrated on the first Wednesday in April, National Walking Day is a day to take a walk, move, dance — whatever works to get you moving and help you kickoff a commitment to a lifetime of healthy living, the AHA explained in a news release.
The organization said taking part in physical activity is one of the best ways to manage stress, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and boost your mood.
Dakota Sica, 19, of East Bethany and Maya Ciciola, 18, of Batavia were among those taking a stroll Wednesday in DeWitt Recreation Area.
“Recently, it’s been starting to become more of an opportunity to walk,” he said. “This (the Recreation Area) is where I come most of the time.”
Ciciola said she tries to get outside when it’s nice. Both said they like being out in nature.
Ciciola said they usually try to walk for about an hour when they can. At around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, they’d been walking for about a half-hour, she said.
“It depends on our schedules,” Ciciola said of the amount of time they spend walking.
Sica said he started walking about a week or two ago. Ciciola said she used to go walking with her parents, but added, “Now, we try to go at least once or twice a week. It’s good exercise every once in awhile.”
Sica said walking is a healthy lifestyle.
“I think it’s peaceful. You can hear all the animals running around. I find enjoyment out of that,” he said.
Mike and Deb Benz, who moved to Batavia from Illinois about nine months ago, were out on the Ellicott Trail in DeWitt.
Deb Benz said they just started walking Tuesday.
“We were going to start getting out and getting healthier and walking,” she said.
Mike Benz said they hope to get out and walk more.
“That’s the game plan. We were waiting on the weather to warm up,” he said.
How long do they plan to walk when they come to the Recreation Area?
“It’s whatever the circuit around here takes — a half-hour, 45 minutes. This is the game plan, because right now, we’re living in an apartment that’s close by,” he said.
Deb Benz said it’s also very pretty at the Recreation Area. She said she has been thinking about going to the mall at Batavia City Centre to walk as well.
“When it’s like this out, you want to be outside,” she said of the calm afternoon around them.
When they lived in Illinois, they walked a lot on their property, Deb said.
“We had 10 acres. He would walk the dogs around the acreage and I would walk as far as I could,” she said.
Mike Benz said they walk for exercise and to try to lose weight. They both said walking is important as you get older for health reasons.
“Say you’re getting ready to have surgery or you had surgery and you need to improve your muscle tone before or after surgery, it’s a great way to do that,” Deb Benz said.
The Heart Association said improved technology and the growing popularity of fitness applications, electronic wearables and step counters have made counting steps an easy way to count health benefits, as noted through a growing body of scientific research.
Middle-aged people who walked the most steps-per-day had a 43% lower risk of diabetes and a 31% lower risk of high blood pressure, compared to those with the fewest steps, according to research presented at the Heart Association’s 2020 EPI Conference.
For women in the study, each 1,000-step interval resulted in a 13% lower risk of obesity, and those with the highest step count were 61% less likely to have obesity, compared to women who walked the least.
People who took at least 7,000 steps a day had a 50% to 70% lower risk of dying compared with people who took fewer than 7,000 steps a day, according to a study published in September in the journal JAMA Open Network. Researchers found that a higher daily step count (more than 10,000 steps) lowered the risk of premature death from any cause among Black and white middle-aged women and men.
“Walking is a great way to improve your health and your mental outlook, and it doesn’t take a lot of expensive sporting equipment to do it. Put on a good pair of shoes and grab a water bottle and you’re ready to go,” said Dr. Donna K. Arnett, a past president of the American Heart Association and the dean and a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology in Lexington.
“It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you walk, the important thing is to get moving,” Arnett said. “Counting steps doesn’t have to be part of a structured exercise program. Increasing your everyday activity, like parking slightly further from your destination, doing some extra housework or yardwork and even walking your dog can all add up to more steps and better health.”