The Medical Fitness Association and AARP have joined forces to challenge older adults to walk for health for 10 weeks leading up to the MFA-sponsored Medical Fitness Week, April 21-27, 2008.

AARP research data show that walking is the preferred exercise for people age 50 and older 74% of members who are active say that walking is their most preferred type of exercise. Walking briskly at least 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and some cancers.

Walking Program coordinators at the MFA pilot centers will handle all registrations and instructions according to AARP guidelines. The Walking Program is free to all participants.

"Encouraging physical health and activity in Boomers and older adults is a main focus for AARP. This 10-week walking challenge, in conjunction with MFA, is a terrific opportunity to inspire people 50-plus and their families to get active and establish new, healthier lifestyles," say Margret Hawkins, Manager of Health Promotion for AARP.

"The goals of the program are to make those age 50 and over aware of the health benefits of walking and to encourage participants to complete the program and continue exercising all year long," says Robert D. Boone, FACHE, VP, Professional Services, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, and former MFA Chairman of the Board.

"The Walking Program is an exciting prelude to Medical Fitness Week, and MFA pilot sites are encouraged to reach out to the underserved/minority communities when promoting the program," Boone adds.

The theme for this year's Medical Fitness Week is Steppin' Out for a Lifetime. A highlight of the week is the National Walking Challenge: 70,000 Steps in 7 Days. People in communities around the country will be encouraged to walk for health. Participants will wear pedometers and aim for a daily goal of 10,000 steps. The community whose participants walk the most will receive national recognition through press releases, the MFA website and the MFA's Annual Conference in San Antonio in December.



AARP is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that helps people 50-plus have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.



MFA is the leading organization dedicated solely to medically integrated fitness facilities and the medical fitness industry. A non-profit organization founded in 1991, MFA is an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. To learn more, contact Cary Wing, EdD, Executive Director, at 804.897.5701 or cwing@medicalfitness.org.

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