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Step Up to National Walking Day; Start a Monday Mile Group
On Wednesday, April 6, the American Heart Association (AHA) will kick off National Walking Day to rally everyone—individuals, friends, families, neighborhoods, communities, schools and workplaces—to join together and walk for health and fun. The day is a great opportunity to promote all the benefits of walking, and people can keep the momentum going throughout the year by starting a Monday Mile in their community.
The Monday Mile came to Syracuse in 2012 with a joint proclamation between the mayor and county executive’s offices to create safe and accessible one-mile walking routes across the community. The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs has led this initiative as part of its Healthy Monday Syracuse campaign.
Tom Dennison, director of the Lerner Center says, “By creating literal stakes in the ground, we are creating an environment that supports movement and being active.”
Since 2012, the Lerner Center has worked with partners across the city and county to install 17 marked one-mile routes.
“These routes provide opportunities for people to be active in their community; at work, at home and at play,” says Leah Moser, program coordinator for the Lerner Center. “Beginning the first Monday in April, we are launching a Walk With Us program where our team will be leading walks every Monday during April to get people back in the routine of moving outdoors after the winter months.”
The Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and Columbia universities all participate in the Monday Mile program. Syracuse University continues to create programs encouraging the community to get active by walking. The Columbia Lerner Center collaborates with Columbia University Office of Work/Life to add Monday Mile messages to facilitate regular walking groups in their community.
Why Monday? Research by Johns Hopkins shows that people are more likely to commit to an exercise program on Monday, and those who start their week with exercise are more likely to keep doing it throughout the week.
To keep walking group participants motivated to do a Monday Mile, Shavise Glascoe, an exercise physiologist at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, suggests the following strategies that will counteract the biggest hurdle to exercise—getting people out of their offices.
- Treat the Monday Mile as an appointment with your health—schedule it on your weekly calendar to make it a habit.
- Don’t look at the Monday Mile as an all-or-nothing idea—prepare for barriers (like an unscheduled meeting with your boss) and have a back-up plan to keep on moving.
- Use the buddy system—bring a friend to walk with you and pledge to keep each other on track.
The Monday Mile is part of The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit organization, which dedicates the first day of every week to health. The organization offers a free Monday Mile Starter Kit and resources for workplaces, campuses and community groups to start their own program.
Download the kit at http://www.moveitmonday.org/mondaymile/.
For more information about Healthy Monday Syracuse, the Monday Mile in Onondaga County and the Walk With Us program visit http://healthymonday.syr.edu.