Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities

This morning, in partnership with the White House Conference on Aging, the Surgeon General introduced his Step It Up! initiative to promote walking and walkable communities during a live webcast.

walking-web-bannerAccording to the official call to action document, walking and wheelchair-rolling is a healthy, low-impact, and affordable option to increase physical activity and decrease chronic disease. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says:

We may walk to school, to work, or even to our places of worship. We may walk to help us think better and relieve stress. Often, we may take a stroll in order to spend quality time with the people and the pets we love most. And, throughout history, we’ve walked and marched in order to make our voices heard and our presence felt. As your Surgeon General, I celebrate all the many reasons for walking—and wheelchair rolling. Carving out just 22 minutes a day on average or 2 ½ hours a week for physical activity, like brisk walking, can do wonders for your overall health.

But, despite all these benefits, people still walk less than they should. Barriers to walking more include busy schedules, safety concerns, community design, and challenges that come with disability and aging.

So, how do we overcome those challenges? While some of the suggested strategies, such as increasing research and data or improving roads and walkways, will take time and funds, there are ways that groups and communities, including Assisted Living communities, can get involved.

For instance, you can organize a walking group with residents and volunteers to walk local parks, neighborhoods, or malls. Resident volunteer groups can partner with local animal shelters who may be in need of dog walkers. You can also adopt the idea of “walking meetings” that the Surgeon General introduced during this morning’s webinar…rather than have team members sit around a table, take them on a walk around the community’s grounds.

In what ways does your Assisted Living community promote healthy activities such as walking? Tell us about your walking groups and initiatives in the comments below and share them on social media…tag your posts with #StepItUp to join this national conversation.


Are you interested in other ways to promote healthy aging? At the CALA 2015 Fall Conference & Trade Show, sessions such as “Building the Foundation for Active Aging,” “Engaging Residents in a Healthy Lifestyle with Creative Cuisine,” and “New Technologies for a Healthier Brain, Body, and Spirit” will give you the tools and strategies you need to develop healthy aging initiatives in your own community. Register today!


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