How do you spend your lunch break? There's good incentive to spend it on the move Wednesday. It's National Walk at Lunch Day, a national effort to promote healthy choices one step at a time.
Blue Cross Blue Shield will pay $20 to walk if your school or business signs up. The money won't be going in your pocket, but instead go to the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation and Special Olympics. Both will each get sizable checks out of the deal. You can register on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska web site, nebraskablue.com.
More than 36,000 people have registered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska from 350 businesses and 100 schools, promising to walk Wednesday for a half-hour. At $20 per group, that means Blue Cross Blue Shield will pay out $9,000, an investment it says is well worth it.
"We would like to see happier, healthier people in general,” says Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska wellness coordinator Lori Thomas. “It's going to decrease health care costs for everybody, but don't we all just want to see everybody healthier and happier?"
Hundreds of the more than 1,000 employees who work at Blue Cross Blue Shield will walk around Stinson Park at Aksarben Village between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and you're welcome to join them.
A 30-minute walk could make a lasting difference. "There are some really good health benefits to walking," says Thomas. "It can get your cardiovascular running, get your heart pumping, get your lungs stronger, get your muscles working, gets your blood pumping."
Registered nurse Lisa Borer picked up her regular workout routine about eight years ago. Her family history of high blood pressure and heart disease got her moving and the fact that she wanted to set a better example for her children. She initially tried to run, but had to change her game plan after her knees started giving her trouble.
"I kept going because I knew I could. Walking wasn't inhibiting my progress so I just kept walking and it doesn't matter how fast or how hard you walk, just walking. If you start with 15 minutes and add five minutes a day you're going to go even farther than you think you've gone." Lisa says every day she was able to move a little bit farther, her overall attitude became more positive.
A 30-minute walk every day of the work week would fulfill the American Heart Association's recommendation that we all get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it costs about $1,000 per family every year to treat the disease and illnesses caused by inactive lifestyles.