Guest Columnists

For a healthy state, let's walk the walk

Jeff Russell is CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa, a not-for-profit insurance company.
Jeff Russell is CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa, a not-for-profit insurance company.

Sometimes when it comes to our health, we set ourselves up to fail by not changing our overall lifestyle and by not engaging others to hold us accountable. We hear about the latest juice cleanse or 12-week full body transformation and think, “yes, that’s what I need to get started!” And then after a few burpees and the 12th green smoothie in a row, you’re staring at a platter of brownies in the break room thinking, “I’ll just have one.”

To truly increase our overall wellness, we need to integrate those practices into our everyday life and bring along our friends and family. We know that a daily 30-minute walk or other exercise dramatically increases health and wellness. The key is to make that a part of your everyday life, not something we have to schedule. By engaging your friends and family, you also can incorporate accountability. It’s a lot harder to hit the snooze button if your running partner is waiting for you.

This year, the Healthiest State Initiative is also changing up its routine. The 2016 Healthiest State Walk is encouraging Iowans to “Step It Up” by walking 30 minutes on Wednesday. This is a change from the 1K walk we’ve encouraged in previous years. Walking is an accessible exercise and meets the U.S. surgeon general’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Did you know only one-half of U.S. adults meet this requirement? Let the Healthiest State Walk on Wednesday be your inspiration to start walking the walk on your way to better overall health. Across the state in all 99 counties, businesses, schools and communities are urged to register a walk at

I’ve challenged Delta Dental of Iowa employees and other leaders across the state to join me as I commit to 30 minutes of activity each day. It’s not always easy, but the benefits are real. We encourage all Iowans to participate in improving our health and moving Iowa to No. 1 in the rankings for healthiest states. Talk to your family, co-workers and friends, form a group and walk your way to better health!

• Jeff Russell is president and chief executive officer Delta Dental of Iowa. Comments:



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