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Minnesotans Step Up for National Walking Day

April 4, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - All it takes to get on the road to better health is to put one foot in front of the other.

This is National Walking Day, and the American Heart Association is encouraging Minnesotans to take a break from their busy schedules to take a few steps in the right direction - literally.

Kim Daninger, a wellness consultant for Medtronic, says just about everyone can begin a walking program.

"It's very cost effective and efficient to do. You don't need any special equipment. You can do it just about anywhere, and even just 20 minutes a day can help burn off up to seven pounds a year, if you did nothing else different in your daily life."

Daninger says incorporating walking into your lifestyle has a multitude of benefits.

"It helps reduce your risk of dying prematurely, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colon cancer. It can also help decrease your stress. It can help improve your circulation and help increase bone density."

Helping people stay healthy also is becoming a big focus for employers, Daninger says, since obesity costs American companies $225 billion a year in lost productivity.

"Companies are realizing that one of the best and about the only way they can control their health-care expenses is to try and help keep their employees healthy - and so they are trying to promote exercise and fitness through whatever means they can."

Every hour of regular exercise means a gain of two hours of life expectancy, according to the AHA.

Tips for designing and sticking to a walking program are online at StartWalkingNow.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN