Rise & Walk

Join Rise & Walk Anytime, from Anywhere

Pledge to walk 30-minutes, three times a week for 30 days. The American Heart Association recommends 150-minutes of movement a week. Use this challenge to jump-start your walking habit or add to your existing physical activity routine.

First launched in Middlebury in 2019, the Rise & Walk program went statewide in summer 2020 with a virtual edition in order to practice necessary physical distancing. Typically, Rise & Walk is a group walking program that kicks off each session with a quick talk from a healthcare provider on a range of topics. In the virtual environment, participants received Monday, Wednesday, Friday emails with a recorded 5-minute health talk and encouragement to get a walk in for the day.

While the virtual even is closed, you can follow along with the health talks and tips below.

Facts & Tips

The Benefits of Walking

1. Improve Circulation

Walking wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

2. Shore Up Your Bones

Walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A. Schwartz, MD, of Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in New York. In fact, one study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40%.

3. Enjoy a Longer Life

Research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. That number shoots up to 45% less likely for those who have underlying health conditions.

4. Lighten Your Mood

Walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.

5. Lose Weight

A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories. Over time, calories burned can lead to pounds dropped.

6. Strengthen Muscles

Walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.

7. Improve Sleep

Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.

8. Support Your Joints

The majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply. It gets its nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move. Movement and compression from  walking “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area.

9. Improve Your Breath

When walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal.

10. Slow Down Mental Decline

A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17% decline in memory, as opposed to a 25% decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.

11. Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who walked less.

12. Do More for Longer

Aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living for people who are older than 65 and have symptomatic OA, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management found.

Source: 12 Benefits of Walking

Remember, if 150 minutes sounds like a lot, even short activity sessions can add up over the week to reach this goal. And it’s easy to fit in a few minutes of walking several times a day.

How to make and keep walking fun

Try walking different routes in your neighborhood or mixing in a hill or two with flatter terrain. Vary your pace. Walk at a more casual or moderate pace for a couple of blocks, then increase your pace (power walk or speed walk) for a block. Walking with a friend is a good way to combine social time with exercise. Some people enjoy walking with music. Some music is geared more for exercise with energizing tunes and a beat or tempo suitable for walking. Be sure to remain aware of traffic and your surroundings. Keep track of your time and distance walked each day. Keeping a daily log tracks your progress and keeps you motivated.

Free Fitness Tracker Apps
StepsApp Pedometer: Automatic step counting, workouts with GPS tracking, active calorie recording, and social media sharing. Understand your fitness improvements with weekly, monthly, and yearly activity charts. You can also synchronize and import your daily exercise via Apple Health. If you track your steps independently from your iPhone on a watch, StepsApp merges the tracked activities onto one platform.
Apple Health App: Built in to the iPhone itself, Apple Health makes it easy to track, access, and organize your exercise and health information. It consolidates data from your iPhone, Apple Watch, and third-party apps so you can store and see all of your progress in one place. Store personal data such as blood glucose, body measurements, heart rate, and nutrition. Record your daily steps and analyze your long-term trends of activity on interactive charts.
Google Fit: Construct a journal of your activities by recording heart rate, speed, pace, and route. Google Fit collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Heart Association (AHA) to create Heart Points. Increased heart rate during exercise translates into Heart Points based on intensity. Compatible with many other apps such as Apple Health, Lifesum, Runkeeper, Strava, MyFitnessPal, Headspace, and more.
Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker: Track your steps throughout each day whether your phone is in your hand, in your jacket, or in your backpack. Record your flights , calories, distance, and active time, and use GPS to log outdoor miles. Pacer allows you to track your body weight and BMI data over time. Set day-by-day goals, motivate other users, and create walking groups with fellow exercise junkies to compare daily steps in real-time.
Samsung Health: Provides basic and mandatory features to guide a healthy lifestyle. Whether you enjoy running, walking, mountain climbing, cycling, or indoor cardio, track exercise easily using the various built-in trackers. The app offers specific exercise programs like endurance training and creates a platform in which you can compete with friends and check your ranking. You can also audit your food, caffeine, and water intake details with intuitive charts displaying diet and fitness goals.

Rise & Walk Health Talks Archive