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Start Walking Now Program - American Heart Association


Updated April 02, 2014

Couple Walking with Dog

Walking Together


About the Start Walking Now Program:

The Start Walking Now program has many tools to encourage you to walk for 30 minutes or more a day to reduce your health risks. It is sponsored by the American Heart Association. Join for free. Use the MyStart Tracker to can map and log your walks and track your eating with an online food diary. You can also participate in National Walking Day events on the first Wednesday in April, or a local American Heart Association Heart Walk or other upcoming events.

How to Join:

Go to the registration page and register for free. You can join solo or as part of a workplace group if your employer is participating with teams. If you join a workplace group, you can see the totals for your group. See the demonstrations and read more about the program at StartWalkingNow.org.

Logging Your Walks:

From the Activity Diary page, you can draw your walking route on the online map and it will automatically measure the distance walked. Enter walk details such as date, duration, and intensity. You can save the walking route for later use, or print it out. Each walk is totaled in your stats.

Nutrition Diary:

You can use the nutrition diary to track all of your daily food intake. There is a link to the the USDA nutrition database to look up food items so you can add their calories to your diary. The diary doesn't give a nutrition score overall or set a calorie goal for you for each day.

Get a Personalized Walking Plan:

You can use their quiz tool to develop a personalized walking plan, which can give you walking assignments in your Activity Tracker. The walking plans were developed in coordination with the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Connect with Walking Paths and Walking Clubs:

Search their database of American Heart Association Walking Paths, choosing your location, the terrain, difficulty and distance. Find local walking clubs or get a kit to form your own walking club.

National Walking Day:

National Walking Day will be celebrated on the first Wednesday of April each year. Companies can sign up and promote healthy living by getting their employees out for a 30 minute walk.

Heart Walks:

Hundreds of American Heart Association Heart Walk are held as fund raising events throughout the USA to benefit the American Heart Association. The walks are held on various dates in each locale. Walkers earn prizes based on how much money the raise.

Bottom Line:

This program began as the Start! program in 2008.

I love maps, so I enjoyed the opportunity to draw my walking route on the map and have it measure the distance for me. However, even though you enter your weight, it doesn't give you an estimated calorie count for your walk.

I thought the nutrition diary was also underpowered. I prefer the CalorieCount.about.com online food diary, which gives you a nutritional scorecard for each day and suggested healthy food alternatives.

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