By the end of this session, group members will learn that:
Materials and Supplies
To conduct this session, you will need:
Give group members these handouts during this session:
* Prepare for the walking activity by reading the box with "Tips for Preparing for the Walking Activity".
Note: If you have time, include a 30-minute activity, such as walking, at the beginning or end of each of the rest of the sessions.
Before the start of this session:
When leading this activity, remember:
The Harris Family has joined their community's annual Health Freedom Walk. The 5-mile event honors the community's role in the Underground Railroad—a vast network of people who helped slaves escape to freedom. Tina Harris; her husband James; and their children, Imani (age 10), Miles (age 8), and Elijah (age 13) are walking together.
Tina: I'm so glad we joined the walk today. Remember how we skipped the Health Freedom Walk last year because we thought we couldn't make it to the end?
James: That was before you persuaded me to get in shape with you.
Tina: Look at us now. We take walks together on most evenings after dinner. On the weekends, we try to do activities with the kids that get us moving, like this Health Freedom Walk.
James: At first, it wasn't easy to get the kids to turn off the TV. Imani and Miles took a little convincing. Elijah put up such a fight——13 can be a rough age. Now the kids spend most of their free time playing outside or at the community center.
Tina: What a difference!
James: You've made a lot of progress, too. When we started, you could only walk for 10 minutes. But each day, we walked a little farther. Now we walk for 30 minutes straight.
Tina: I did feel out of shape at first. Walking is the one physical activity I like to do, but I've always been afraid to walk in the neighborhood alone.
James: I'm glad your sister and your friend started walking with you on the days when I work late.
Tina: Me, too. Walking with a partner is safer and more fun. You hardly notice the time when you're walking and talking. Wow, are we at the finish line already?
James: Yes, we are.
Tina: We did it! We finished the Health Freedom Walk for the first time ever. I guess you could say we're on the path to health freedom.
This story is based on the Health Freedom Walk—A Path to Wellness program of CHAMP (Community Health Awareness & Monitoring Program). For more information, contact CHAMP at 1—410—669—6340.
It's very important to know when to talk with a doctor before starting a physical activity program.
In the list below, check which people should see a doctor before they begin a physical activity program.
Regular physical activity can help your heart and lungs work better; lower your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose (blood sugar); and help you control your weight. It can also help you relax, feel less tense, sleep better, have more energy, and feel better about yourself. Physical activity can also reduce your risk for diabetes and some types of cancer.
Make staying active a lifelong habit.
Ms. Diane has learned that the more physical activity you do, the easier it gets.
I do not wait until the end of the day when I am too tired to do any physical activity. I am active throughout the day. I take the stairs instead of the elevators and walk everywhere I can. Now I am up to walking 60 minutes a day with my friend. It helps to walk with someone. We are so busy talking, we walk even longer.
Keep moving. Start slowly, and work your way up!
Strive to do at least 30 minutes of activity every day. If you're short on time, try three or more 10-minute periods.
Start with light activities
Move to moderate activities
Increase to vigorous activities
Other things to do to help you and your family get started:
James, Tina, and Pam Harris have all increased their physical activity. They now walk and dance almost every day. And Jill rides a stationary bike nearly every day.
Make your personal pledge to exercise like the Harris family does!
Look at these examples:
Park the car a few blocks away and walk to work.
During lunch, take a walk with a coworker.
After dinner, take a walk with your family.
Write the changes you will make this week.
Your health and your family's health are priceless. Make an investment in it!
Do these stretches gently and slowly. Do not bounce.
Track your progress every day.
Aim to reach 60 minutes or more each day!
Last Updated December 2010