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11/11 "National Health Walk Day" - Happily walking towards healthy living

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2015-11-11
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

Every year on November 11th, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) holds the "National Health Walk Day," with “1111” symbolizing "two pairs of feet, walking together." This event is a reminder that walking in our daily lives does not require any special exercise equipment, and is the World Health Organization's (WHO) most easily practiced and most highly recommended physical activity. The HPA is encouraging those people who are not in the habit of exercising to start making walks for health part of their daily lives. On your days off, you can go on these health walks with your friends and family to enjoy the benefits of walking together. The HPA also recommends that before people participate in the walk event (especially those sensitive to pollution), that they first check and see if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an air pollution alert. Please check the EPA's Air Quality Monitoring Network (http: //taqm.epa.gov.tw/taqm/tw/Pm25Index.aspx) to check for immediate air quality monitoring data. 

The HPA Director-General Qiu Shushi stated that the "2013 National Health Survey" took a random sampling of 18,194 people aged 18 years or older. They collected surveys of those people who have engaged in physical activity in the past month. Of those, 57% exercise each week, among which 30.41% of respondents engaged in walks as their primary means of exercise. 

HPA Director-General Qiu also noted that research has shown that walking 15 minutes a day can improve your physical condition and make your brain produce endorphins, which makes people happy and relieves stress. Long-term commitment to this daily, 15-minute habit helps control weight and improves longevity. When exercise produces endorphins, it makes people feel happy, relieves stress, promotes the body's blood circulation, and improves cardiovascular function. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, dementia, and other risks in addition to its help in controlling weight. Therefore, the WHO recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate exercise per week. Children and adolescents should do a minimium of 60 minutes (1 hour) of moderate exercise each day, with a total of 420 minutes or more each week. 
Director-General Qiu went on to say that for those people who are not in the habit of exercise, "Health Walks" are a great way to get started. All you have to do is add a little speed to your normal walking speed until you get a slight sweat going. You don't need any special equipment, just put on some light clothing, gym shoes, and remember the basic formula "stand up straight, tighten your abdomen, keep your hands near your waist and swing them naturally, keep your shoulders relaxed, and start walking!" Health Walks can easily be integrated into your daily life. For example, you can start walking some sections and take public transportation for other sections when commuting to work, walk your dog, or after dinner you can get your family together and take a health walk together at the nearby school campus tracks, thus bringing your family closer together. 

Director-General Qiu also reminded people to remember to wear proper clothing and shoes with insoles with the right hardness when they exercise. Make sure to wear clothing that wicks away sweat and is comfortable, bring a water bottle, drink water when you need to, and if you're walking at night, please wear reflective clothing and go with a partner. The HPA has already listed the community health walk trails in all 22 cities and counties, which can be looked up on http://www.hpa.gov.tw/. The website also has more information on health topics and weight management, diet, exercise/community health walking paths, and answers to other inquiries. 
For those people with diet, exercise, and weight control problems, they are welcome to call the HPA toll-free Healthy Weight Management Consultation Line at 0800-367-100 (“367-100” is pronounced san-loh-khi, iau-tong-tong in the Taiwanese dialect; meaning literally “exercise to slim down”), web call (http://210.59.250.202/HPA_WebCall/), or message LINE ID: 0800367100. (The Healthy Weight Management Consultation hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., providing both Mandarin and Taiwanese language services. If you call outside of service hours, you can leave a message, and professionals will take the initiative and reply to your query.