Health Department

Walking and Your Health

Walking and Your Health

Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

March 26, 2012

I know you may get tired of reading about exercise and health, but it is one most important preventative measures leading to better health. It’s not what you know, it’s what you do that makes a difference in health. And, when observing the lifestyle of Americans, the major culprit for the decline in health is lack of exercise. So why are we “disconnected” from what we know and what we do?

The best way to lose weight is be ACTIVE. Spring is almost here and this is the best time to make physical activity a family affair. A walking program is a wonderful way to begin. Independence has wonderful walking trails. While you walk, look for different birds, snails, bugs, or different habitats. The neat thing about nature is the teachable moments that come with being out there.

A great way to kick off being more active is by signing up for the FREE Independence Park Trot. The first annual 5k will be held Saturday, April 21 at Waterfall Park by Bass Pro.

Come and bring your family to enjoy three miles of Waterfall Park and connecting trail. Bring a non-perishable food item and enter the raffle for a chance to win great prizes. For more information and to sign up for the run/walk, visit

Some rules to follow while walking include intensity, hydration, and safety. Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program and start slow, increasing frequency or intensity gradually. You should walk with your head erect, stomach pulled in and include your arms, allowing them to swing naturally. Your stride should be natural and not too long and be sure you can carry on a normal conversation while you walk. Hydration is also very important, but critical in the hot weather. You should increase your intake of water whenever you increase your activity.

Be safe while walking. Key safety practices includes facing the traffic when you walk and dressing in light colored clothing or wear reflectors. Always carry identification, and if you are walking alone, have a cell phone ready for help if you need it. You should also find a place to walk that is frequented by people.

Now is the time to “reconnect” what we know and what we do to improve quality of life through better health.

For more information, contact the Independence Health Department at 325-7185.