When you are looking for ways to improve your health, walking is one of the easiest ways to get started!
Walking is the most common form of physical activity for people across our country. It can allow you to catch up with friends and family, it can get you to school, work or a nearby store. And, of course, walking is good exercise!
Each of us has a role to play in creating a more walkable community. The United States Surgeon General encourages us to Step It Up! for healthier communities.
- Walking and wheelchair rolling are great ways to increase their physical activity.
- Walking does not require special skills, facilities, or expensive equipment.
- Walking is a year-round activity that can be done indoors or outdoors.
- Walking can be done by people of all ages and abilities.
- Many people with disabilities are able to walk or move with assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
How To Add More Walking to Your Day
- Take a walk with a coworker at lunchtime.
- Conduct a walking meeting at the office.
- Make a standing walk date with a spouse, family member or friend.
- Put a walk on the family calendar after dinner.
- Start or join a walking or hiking group.
- If you take a bus to work, get off a stop early, if you can, and walk the rest of the way.
- Try to do errands by just walking or by walking and taking public transportation.
- If you do need to drive to a destination, park a little farther away to get in some extra steps.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
The most important thing to remember when you are out walking is this: Be Safe and Be Seen. Make yourself visible to drivers.
- Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials.
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Cross the street in a well-lit area at night.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
- Don't assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals. Look before you cross the road.
- Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
- Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
- Watch for turning vehicles. Make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
- Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Even if one motorist stops, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
- Don't wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.