Surgeon General says ‘Step It Up’

Washington – Americans are being encouraged to “Step It Up!” and walk more.

The Surgeon General has issued a Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities that emphasizes the benefits of walking and asks Americans to be more physically active. The initiative, released Sept. 9, aims to increase walking through safer and more accessible walkways and a culture that promotes physical activity for “people of all ages and abilities.”

Nearly half of American adults lived with a chronic disease in 2012, according to the initiative. Physical activity can help prevent risk factors for illness – such as weight gain and high blood pressure. Physical activity also can improve mood, lower stress and help develop connections with others, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during a Sept. 9 webcast. Walking is a simple, inexpensive way to be physically active, the initiative emphasizes.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, and children should get at least 60 minutes per day, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.