Campaign to promote walking steps up efforts

Sep 17, 2015

Health advocates are taking steps to promote walking. Twelve million steps  -- and counting.

A recent study shows than more than half of all adults nationwide are falling short of their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day. The Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo has been championing a campaign to fight adult obesity. It has launched a program that focuses on community walks. The goal is to

Credit Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo

see registered walkers take 15 million steps by the end of the year by registered walkers. The initiative has about 3 million steps to go in order to hit its target.

Trisha Shea, an exercise science graduate at the University at Buffalo, explained the benefits of walking during a recent interview with WBFO in downtown Buffalo.

“First off, walking is going to help with heart and lung fitness. Also it’s going to help joint mobility and also increasing bone density and muscle mass in general, and so all that is going to come into effect and it’s going to play a role in helping prevent injuries” said Shea.

According to New York State health reports, Erie County has one of the highest levels of diagnosed chronic health diseases in the State.  Phil Haberstro, executive director of the Wellness Institute, said efforts have been underway to get more residents involved in walking. He noted that one of the long-term challenges involves making the region's infrastructure more walker-friendly.

Walkable communities is really helpful not in terms of encouraging people individually to walk, but also encouraging communities,” he said. “My hometown, the Town of Tonawanda, is looking at complete streets. That’s the idea of making streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly and not just serving the auto community."

The next community walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 19 at Chestnut Ridge Park.

Wellness advocates have set an even more ambitious goal next year in their crusade to promote walking. They're hoping participants will take 20 million steps in the mission to promote better health.