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Starting a Walking Team: The Facts

This year, as President Obama and Congress work together to enact health reform that reduces health care costs for families, businesses, and government; guarantees choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans; and assures quality affordable health care for all Americans, we hope that you will participate by promoting healthy lifestyles in your community – a key to avoiding costly disease and improving the nation's health.

A brisk, half-hour walk five or more days a week can reduce the risk of developing:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Some cancers

The 30-minute daily walking routine also boosts brain power, helps control weight, requires modest investments of time and money, increases productivity, and – because of its benefits, promoting alertness and health – a walking regimen may lead to reduced health care costs. At a rate of 74 percent, AARP members who are active say that walking is their most regular type of exercise.

Research shows that walking itself promotes physical activity. Since walking is also an "entry level" form of exercise – i.e. people who develop daily walking routines are likely to eventually practice yoga, go biking, or join in other athletic pursuits – AARP believes walking programs are the first step to push greater numbers of 50+ Americans to keep fit.

So, if starting a walking group doesn't sound like a volunteer activity to you, think again. Your efforts can have a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of your community. Alternatively, you may choose to keep your act of service small, by asking a friend or neighbor to walk with you on a regular basis. Even this one simple act can make a world of difference. So, don't wait, get walking!

This year, commit yourself and a team of your friends, family, and neighbors to help increase healthy exercise habits and join United We Serve. This tool kit will give you the basics to recruit a team, organize your group, and make an impact.

Material provided by AARP as part of its Create the Good® initiative. To learn more go to CreateTheGood.org.

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