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American Heart Association, Springfield-Greene County Park Board Celebrate National Walking Day with

Wednesday is National Walking Day. To celebrate, the American Heart Association has teamed up with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to designate area walking paths as part of their Walking Path Program. This program is designed to encourage adults to exercise more. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe took a stroll at Nathaniel Greene Close Memorial Park in Springfield, and has this report.

SOUND: people walking

It was a beautiful day to be outside for a leisurely walk around Lake Drummond. Birds were chirping, the trees were in full bloom, and a partly overcast sky provided some relief from the sun for the walkers, many of whom were on their lunch break. Some people wore athletic apparel, while others wore dress clothes, complete with pumps. Anne Mary McGrath of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board says this footwear may not be the best choice for exercising, but she's happy to see these adults walking outside and keeping fit…That’s exactly what the Walking Path Program is designed to promote.

“The nice thing is, the parks, the ones that we picked, are geographically spread around town. So ideally you could come out, do a walk in the park and get back to your desk in the hour that you have for lunch and still have a healthy lunch to and from the park,” McGrath said.

Five area parks now have walking paths endorsed by the American Heart Association. Along with Nathaniel Greene and Close Memorial, designated paths are also located at Sequiota Park, Jordan Valley Park, McDaniel Park, and the Greenway Trail at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park. McGrath says the goal is to highlight existing paths within the parks system.

“What we’ve done is of those five parks that we’ve designated, we’ll put signs out there that will link from the American Heart Association program website to our website to those parks, so when you walk by those parks you’ll know ‘Oh, this is the park they were talking about.’ But no new parks have been built,” McGrath said.

Karl Schmidt, Regional Director for the American Heart Association, says the paths are designed to inspire adults to get more exercise. Across the nation, he says, far too many adults are leading unhealthy lifestyles.

“There is an obesity epidemic, and a lot of that is due to the fact that jobs now a days are a lot more sedentary, behind the desks and so forth, and walking is the easiest thing to get up and do. A comfortable pair of tennis shoes and you’re pretty much set up to go. We’ve found that if you can do two hours of vigorous exercise a day, it can add an hour to your life. So it’s something you’d be investing in yourself just to get up and do some exercise,” Schmidt said.

The signs will be put into place at the parks within the next week. For more information about the Walking Path Program, visit our website, For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.