BPHC logoThe Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and Harbor Health Services teamed up to hold a community walk and flash mob Zumba workout in celebration of National Public Health Week and to promote National Walking Day tomorrow.  Nearly 200 participants from various local organizations turned out this afternoon to walk from the Greenway to City Hall Plaza, with attendees breaking into a flash mob Zumba routine when they reached City Hall. See photos on our Facebook page!

Today’s celebration featured representatives from over a dozen organizations, including Harbor Health Services, the Mass League of Community Health Centers, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), the South End Community Health Center, Health Care for All, Z-Spot Zumba, and more. Lena Andrade, owner and director of the Z-Spot Zumba studio in the South End, led the flash mob routine.

“Tomorrow is National Walking Day, and I’m happy we’re getting a jump start on things,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of BPHC.  “We all know obesity is 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 a Harvard study, walking at a moderate pace can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as forty percent, and the benefits to men are comparable.

Today’s event also capped off a month-long 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 today’s event.

While there were no official winners of the workplace wellness challenge, a couple of standout performers made their mark on the competition.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, a major sponsor of Boston Moves for Health, had over 500 of its employees participate in the race.  NICHQ, meanwhile, registered a one hundred percent participation rate among its nearly 60 employees.

Last April, Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched Boston Moves for Health and challenged the city to move 10 million miles together.  As the one-year anniversary of the initiative approaches, the city has logged an impressive 8.3 million miles of activity in the past 11 months.