PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rather than ordering lunch in, hundreds of people worked a walk into their routine today.

It was Philadelphia’s version of “National Walk at Lunch Day.”

Mayor Michael Nutter led folks on a short, 1.5-mile course around the perimeter of Philadelphia City Hall to promote the benefits of physical activity.  Employer groups not within walking distance of the event were encouraged to plan walks at their individual business locations.

As folks walked around City Hall, Daniel Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, which hosted the event, recalled that last year the company’s workers really stepped it up.

“Our national walk participants walked over 15,000 miles — or to India and back — and burned over 2.1 million calories,” he said.

For those of us with busy schedules, a little bit of physical activity at lunch, rather than sitting in a cubicle and chowing down while looking at that computer screen, is just what the doctor ordered.

Mayor Nutter is frequently seen leading his aides on walks to various appointments, where possible, and taking stairs rather than elevators.

“Any opportunity I have to add some physical activity, I try to take advantage of it,” the mayor said.

Supporters also say that walking helps control weight, improve circulation, decrease the risk of heart attack and diabetes, while improving muscle tone and reducing stress. Plus, it’s free!

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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