The Boston Public Health Commission and Harbor Health Services teamed for a community walk and flash mob Zumba workout Tuesday in celebration of National Public Health Week and to promote National Walking Day on Wednesday.
Nearly 200 people turned out at noon, walking from the Greenway to City Hall Plaza, where they broke into a flash mob Zumba routine.
Last April, Mayor Thomas Menino launched Boston Moves for Health and challenged the city to move 10 million miles together, and lose a collective one million pounds. As the one-year anniversary of the initiative approaches, the city has logged 8.3 million miles and lost 95,697 pounds.
“Tomorrow is National Walking Day, and I’m happy we’re getting a jump start on things,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the health commission. “We all know obesity is a growing problem across the country. Yet there are so many little things we can do to help people maintain a healthy weight, and encouraging more walking is one of the best examples.”
Walking regularly can improve one’s cholesterol profile, boost bone strength, lower blood pressure, prevent weight gain, and increase overall energy and stamina, according to the health commission.
A Harvard study also shows that walking at a moderate pace can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40 percent, and the benefits to men are comparable.
Today’s event also capped off a monthlong workplace wellness competition called Race to the Beach that BPHC organized as part of Boston Moves for Health. Dozens of local companies and organizations took part in the challenge to virtually walk or run the 1,500 miles from Boston to sunny Miami. Several Race to the Beach teams took part in Tuesday’s event.
There were no official winners of the workplace wellness challenge, according to the health commission, however a few "standout performers" made their mark.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, a major sponsor of Boston Moves for Health, had more than 500 of its employees participate in the race, and The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality registered a 100 percent participation rate among its nearly 60 employees.