Maryland State Exercise - Walking

[photo, People strolling at Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland] When Maryland designated walking as the State Exercise on October 1, 2008, it became the first state in the nation to name a state exercise (Chapters 400 & 401, Acts of 2008; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-328).

The health benefits of walking include improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, and prevention of heart attacks, colon and breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Physical activity also elevates mood and reduces anxiety. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that all Americans walk at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week.

People strolling at Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, October 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

A walking program may include using a treadmill, or walking outside at an average speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour. To minimize the risk of injury, it is important to warm up and stretch muscles before each session, wear good walking shoes, remain hydrated, and cool down before finishing.

Many Marylanders belong to clubs which sponsor walking events throughout the year. The Maryland Volkssport Association, for example, conducts events which are noncompetitive and family-friendly.

Formerly sponsored by the Maryland Transportation Authority, the annual Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk started in May 1975, and was last held in 2006. The 4.5 mile walk went from Stevensville in Queen Anne's County on the Eastern Shore to Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County on the Western Shore.

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