Improving Your Health, Step by Step

We all know that physical exercise is as important to good health as healthy eating, but for many reasons exercise often falls to the bottom of our priority lists. We don’t have the time, money, or energy… We’ve never been great at sports… The list goes on. But exercising for your health doesn’t require loads of time, money, effort, or athletic prowess. Simply putting one foot in front of the other will move you quickly down the path to better health.

Start WALKing, Get Healthier

People who sit a lot at work and home move about 2,000-3,000 steps a day—under a mile and a half. Increase your steps and you’ll see big health benefits: adding 2,000 steps a day prevents weight gain; 8,000-10,000 additional steps promote weight loss.

The best way to add steps is to build more walking into your daily routine. UAB HealthSmart makes it easy through our free WALK Feel Alive program. We provide free WALK Feel Alive kits, which includes a WALK t-shirt, a sling pack, a water bottle, and a pedometer. These tools will motivate you to increase your activity. Try parking farther from store entrances, choosing stairs, and taking a 15-minute walk during a break or before meals.

WALK Feel Alive has been impacting lives since 2006. Today more than 1,800 people in Birmingham and 1,800 more in rural counties of Alabama and Mississippi are WALKing for better health. A new partnership with the Birmingham Park & Recreation Board is drawing even more participants, expanding the network of Birmingham residents taking charge of their health simply by WALKing.

How Does WALKing Promote Good Health?

According to a November 2005 study in Archives of Internal Medicine, walking just 30 minutes a day offers important health benefits and has even been shown to add 1.3 healthy years to your life.

Specifically, daily walking:

  • Lowers heart disease risk and improves blood cholesterol levels
  • Keeps weight under control
  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Boosts energy, helps manage stress, and releases tension
  • Improves your ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • Increases enthusiasm and optimism
  • Improves muscle strength
  • Helps prevent chronic diseases associated with aging
  • Helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease*

*Benefits list adapted from: American Heart Association; National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Physical Activity and Health: A Report to the Surgeon General. Alzheimer’s benefits adapted from: “Physical Activity and Gray Matter Volume in Late Adulthood: The Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study.”

Sign up for WALK Feel Alive, put on your WALK t-shirt (and a good pair of shoes), and start WALKing for better health today.