TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Downtown workers walked out of their offices to turn a working lunch into a walking lunch.
National Walk @ Lunch Day kicked off Wednesday just before noon, with the Topeka High Drumline leading a sea of workers clad in green t-shirts, from their offices to the Kansas Judicial Center.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas hosted its sixth National Walk @ Lunch Day to encourage Kansans to pick up a new habit.
CEO and President Andrew Corbin said a brisk, half hour walk around the block or at a nearby park is a cheap and easy exercise that can have a big impact.
"It's really simple." he said. "It improves cardiovascular movement, it helps with hypertension, it helps with Type 2 Diabetes and its wonderful for joints and muscles."
"All in all it's a healthy habit," he said.
Corbin and 13 News Anchor Melissa Brunner served as lead walkers of the event.
"If it's the first time you're out here today and walked during lunch, give yourself a round of applause," Brunner told the crowd of more than 550 participants before they began their 30-minute walk around the center.
Garry Cushinberry was among those workers who normally stayed at his desk over a working lunch.
"It's great, especially on a day like today. It's just a great day to be out with 700 of my best friends," he said.
Participants said taking a daily walk doesn't just help you stay fit, it also helps you make friends.
"It's just a wonderful way to meet and greet people and its important to get out and do your exercise every day," Elder Jordan Smith said, who as a Morman missionary, gets out every day, not just during lunch.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas sponsored similar events in Wichita and Salina Wednesday.
Last year, tens of thousands of people participated nationwide.