April is a BUSY month!! Lots to celebrate – Occupational Therapy Month, Earth Day, and National Walking Day, just to name a few. Information about OT Month was covered earlier, so let’s look at Earth Day and Walking Day and explore ways to honor and celebrate both all month long!
National Walking Day is the first Wednesday in April (April 7th) and it encourages Americans of all ages to get out, stretch their legs, and get their hearts pumping. The American Heart Association sponsors this day to help remind people about the benefits of taking a walk. By committing to walking at least 30-minutes each day, you can improve your mental and physical health. And remember, those 30-minutes do not have to be done all at once. Depending on your availability and your physical fitness, three smaller 10-minute walks throughout the day might be more appropriate. As always, check with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations.
Here are some tips for how to make walking more enjoyable:
- Wear comfortable clothes and supportive shoes.
- Walk with a friend or family member to help pass the time.
- Stretch prior to and after your walks to prevent injury and soreness.
- Drink plenty of water. You may even consider bringing a water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated.
- Choose different routes for your walks. Change things up with a variety of scenery, terrain, and elevation, if possible.
There are also plenty of easy ways to get in a few more steps each day. Maybe you don’t have 30-minutes to spare – it happens to the best of us! Instead, incorporate ways to get in more steps throughout your day. I promise they will add up over time!
Here are some tips for adding more steps into your day:
- Park further away. Instead of taking the spot closest to the entrance, park at the other end of the parking lot. The extra steps it takes to get into the building will certainly add up.
- Take the stairs. If you are able, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator when you have the chance. Not only will you be adding extra steps, but the elevation is also great for muscular strength and endurance.
- Walk while you talk. During your next phone call, try pacing around your office or home to get in a few extra steps. Take breaks as you need but getting up to stretch your legs will certainly help you get through the day.
Earth Day is April 22nd. It is celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Every year, events occur around the world to show support and raise awareness; however, there is plenty we can do right from our own homes.
Ways to celebrate Earth Day:
- Take up a new hobby, such as gardening or composting – both are great for the environment.
- Start a recycling program in your area or neighborhood.
- Plant a tree, or two!
- Walk when you can! If you are close by, try walking or public transportation instead of driving your own vehicle. This will not only help the environment, but it can also be good for your health, too!
- Invest in reusable straws and water bottles.
There are plenty of ways to honor and celebrate both National Walking Day and Earth Day. And these are certainly habits we can adopt for a lifetime, not just during the month of April! Share with us how YOU are starting to incorporate more steps and enjoying our beautiful Mother Earth!
Brittany Austin, MBA | National Director of Health and Wellness