NEW YORK – The American Heart Association will kick off Move More Month to rally everyone – individuals, friends and families, neighborhoods, communities, schools, and workplaces to join together and move for health, fun and togetherness. To keep up the momentum after Move More Month, the American Heart Association will encourage individuals, communities, schools and workplaces to participate by holding events to rally Americans to commit to being more active on a regular basis.
“Worldwide, physical inactivity is now more prevalent than smoking and it’s hurting our heart health,” said Jacque Marianno, American Heart Association’s Digital Strategies Director for the Western States. “We know that small changes can make a big difference. That’s why this month we are asking people to commit to their health by moving more, getting active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. There is no time like the present to improve your health.”
One effective example of a small change that can have positive impact on individuals and communities is the Monday Mile initiative in Syracuse, New York. This effort helps promote and sustain the healthy habit of walking on a regular basis. It all started in 2012 with a joint proclamation between the Mayor and County Executive’s offices to create safe and accessible one-mile walking routes across the community. The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs has led this initiative as part of their Healthy Monday Syracuse campaign. Now there are 25 walking routes across Central New York that community members can use to get moving regularly.
Tom Dennison, director of the Lerner Center and a professor at Syracuse University, said, “By creating literal stakes in the ground, we are creating an environment that supports movement and being active. The Monday Mile routes provide opportunities for people to be active in their community; at work, at home and at play.”
Why Monday? Research by Johns Hopkins shows that people are more likely to commit to an exercise program on Monday. Those who start their week with exercise are more likely to keep doing it throughout the week.
The Monday Mile is based on the CDC recommendation for adults to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. It takes the average adult roughly 30 minutes to walk a mile. Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week meets this goal. So by doing the Monday Mile, an individual is taking the first steps toward meeting the recommended weekly exercise goal.
To keep yourself or your group motivated to do a Monday Mile, here are strategies that will counteract the biggest hurdle to exercise – getting out of the office.
- Treat the Monday Mile as an appointment – schedule it on your weekly calendar to make it a habit.
- Don’t look at the Monday Mile as an all-or-nothing idea – prepare for barriers (like an unscheduled meeting) and have a back-up plan to keep on moving.
- Use the buddy system – make the Monday Mile a group activity with friends, family or colleagues and pledge to keep each other on track.
The Monday Mile is part of The Monday Campaigns, public health initiatives that dedicate the first day of every week to health. We offer a free Monday Mile Starter Kit and resources for individuals, workplaces, campuses and community groups to start their own walking program or routine.
Download the kit at: http://www.moveitmonday.org/mondaymile/
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About the Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion and
The Monday Campaigns
The Monday Campaigns was founded by Sid Lerner, retired advertising executive and long-time public health advocate. Meatless Monday was the first Monday campaign in 2003 and is now in 40 countries, supported by celebrities, food companies, restaurants, hospitals and schools. He founded the Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion at Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse universities to help bring marketing best practices to public health, promoting the healthy behaviors needed to prevent chronic diseases.