No matter if you are a diehard fan of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing or you've just heard of it's classic, much parodied "Walk and Talk" meetings, its all star cast of Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Dule Hill, Joshua Malina, Melissa Fitzgerald, and William Duffy have reunited to get America walking (talking optional).
Produced by maker of all things humor, Funny Or Die, and in conjunction with the Every Body Walk! campaign, this short clip draws the West Wing cast back to the Oval Office after nearly seven years off the air. Their goal? To sell president Martin Sheen on a simple initiative that could solve a world of ailments including obesity and healthcare spending: walking more. It doesn’t take much convincing. After a short spiel about ancient philosophers, the prez dons a sweatband and proclaims, "We're going for a walk!"
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Every Body Walk! is a campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. Through the help of partners including the Arthritis Foundation, Trailsnet.com, Partnership for a Healthier America, and Funny or Die, the organization is working to raise awareness about the simple act of walking. The site provides news about walking, trails and maps, resources to find walking groups, and even a personal pledge form to start walking with options like “I will park farther away at the grocery store” and “I will walk the dog everyday.”
The campaign makes walking even easier with the Every Body Walk! app which turns your smartphone into a dual pedometer and workout tracker. The simple app (available for iOS and Android) tracks distance, time, estimated calories burned, and routes, then logs walks for future reference. And if you feel like bragging, go ahead and share your walks via Facebook and Twitter.
Beyond bragging rights (and a way to peel your bum from that desk chair) just 30 minutes of walking five times a week is enough to improve overall health, reduce body fat, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, increase energy, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, according to EBW!.
Walking equates to big gains for productivity, too. The results of a 2011 workplace fitness study showed walking more makes for a happier, healthier, more alert, and more productive staff. While running burns two-and-a-half times more energy than walking, running puts more stress on the body and increases the risk for injuries Energy expenditure of walking and running: comparison with prediction equations. Hall, C., Figueroa, A., Fernhall, B., et. al., Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2004 Dec;36(12):2128-34.. And it’s easy to amp up the intensity of a walk if you want to with small wrist and ankle weights, or choosing a route with hills Intensity and energy cost of weighted walking vs. running for men and women. Miller, J.F., Stamford, B.A., Journal of Applied Physiology, 1987 Apr;62(4):1497-501. While walking seems like a no-brainer, and the video and campaign aren't exactly revolutionary, both are a reminder that just a little movement goes a long way.
Does your workplace encourage walking meetings? How will you incorporate more steps into your day? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.