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Step It Up: A Call To Action From The Surgeon General

Those of us in the fitness industry understand the vast health benefits to be achieved from regular exercise. As Ex-Officio Brent Darden pointed out during his speech at the 2015 IHRSA Convention and Trade Show, we also understand that not all forms of exercise are for everyone. People engage in a wide variety of exercise - from racquet sports to aerobic training to weight lifting to running - based on preference, comfort level, experience, accessibility, and numerous other factors. But of all the possibilities, walking is still the easiest, most accessible form of exercise available to the masses. It is a great low-impact, cost effective way to meet the daily recommendations for exercise. And walking has a variety of health benefits – such as reduced risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes; improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels; improved mental health; and lowered risk of obesity.

In recognition of this, earlier today, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced a nationwide Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.

“The science on this is clear. It tells us an average of 22 min of walking a day can significantly decrease our risk of chronic disease,” said Murthy.

The Step It Up! initiative provides: 

"Strategies that communities can use to support walking, which we hope will result in long-lasting changes to improve the health and health care of Americans today and of the generations that follow. The Call to Action adds to our work to educate, empower, and engage Americans to take control of their health, including initiatives like the National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness, the National Physical Activity Plan, Healthy People 2020, and the Healthy Self campaign."

In an introductory letter, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy outlines the goals of the call the action.

1. Promotes good health before disease occurs.

2. Applies to people of all stages of life and ability.

3. Requires that everyone have access to safe spaces to walk or wheelchair roll.

To learn more about the initiative, read Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call To Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. 

Walking and Clubs

One of the main areas of focus in this call to action is access to safe spaces to walk. While the Surgeon General is focusing on creating more pedestrian friendly cities and towns, health clubs are already offering a safe, well-lit, weather controlled place to walk every day of the year. Most clubs offer treadmills or other low impact walking machines like ellipticals, and many offer indoor tracks for walking and wheelchair rolling. 

How are you promoting walking in your club? We’d like to hear from you. Contact us at


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