The surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued a call-to-action recently to promote walking and walkable communities as a way to combat chronic diseases that are on the rise, such as diabetes and obesity.

A call-to-action is a science-based document to stimulate action nationwide to solve a major public health problem. Murthy’s was only the eighth call to action issued by the surgeon general in the past 10 years.

Walking is the solution.

A person has to choose to walk. However, that choice can be made easier by designing our community in a way that promotes healthy, active living and by providing opportunities and encouragement for walking.

The surgeon general’s announcement acknowledges the consequences of leaving walking out of the equation when planning our city and reminds us that we must do better. This is the exact goal of Reach Healthy Community’s “Go Healthy, Columbus” initiative (gohealthycolumbus.org) and the first annual celebration of WALKtober.

Throughout October, there are opportunities to get out and walk for a variety of reasons. We are challenging you to take steps each day to explore the amazing community around you.

Some examples of WALKtober events organized to encourage movement include:

Walk to School Day, on Wednesday, to get kids moving

Men Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence, on Oct. 22, to walk for a cause

Lunchtime walks to connect you with others, such as at WellConnect and Columbus Regional Health.

The physical benefits or walking are many, but there is another important reason to walk: happiness.

Life is busy. Time seems to fly by and often we don’t take a moment for ourselves or to spend time with those we love. Walking can provide that moment.

Take time to get out and walk.

Laura Garrett is the community initiatives lead for Reach Healthy Communities. She can be reached by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling 812-375-3994.