Health & LivingNews

‘Walk More. Connect More.’ at Healthiest State Annual Walk

Registration for the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk, presented by Delta Dental of Iowa, is now open. On Wednesday, October 6, thousands of Iowans across the state will participate in organized walks at schools, workplaces and in their communities.

Registration is free and easy: Visit to sign-up as a household, school, workplace, organization or community to walk for 30 minutes any time on October 6.

“Walking is an accessible form of physical activity that benefits our physical, mental, emotional and social health,” said Jami Haberl, executive director for the Healthiest State Initiative. “Following more than a year of social distancing, we are excited to once again gather with our fellow Iowans to walk and re-connect.”

The 2021 theme “Walk More. Connect More.” highlights the social benefits of walking. Being physically active is one of the most important steps that people of all ages and abilities can take to improve their health and integrating exercise with social activities has been shown to have a positive impact on our overall health.

“Delta Dental of Iowa is proud to be the presenting sponsor and longtime supporter of the Healthiest State Annual Walk,” said Jeff Russell, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa and Board President of the Healthiest State Initiative. “We know that social connectedness is a key component to Iowans’ health and walking is the perfect opportunity to connect with our neighbors, colleagues and classmates.”

Studies have shown that walking or exercising with others provides supportive relationships for behavior change. Walking within communities creates more opportunities for social cohesion and personal interactions while increasing safety, reducing pollution and boosting local businesses.

“The theme for this year’s walk is perfect.  Walking is a big part of total wellness ­– heart, mind and spirit – and an intentional focus on total wellness as well as getting reconnected with colleagues, friends and family is so important for relationships in our workplaces and communities this year,” said Lura McBride, Annual Walk Co-Chair and Van Meter President and CEO.

Those who register for the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk will have access to resources, such as communications templates, social media guide, customizable posters and a month-long walking calendar. The Healthiest State Initiative is also hosting two contests:

  • School Mascot Challenge: The first 64 schools who register will automatically be entered in the School Mascot Challenge. Fans will be able to vote weekly in the bracket-style competition and the winner will be announced following the Annual Walk on October 6.  The winning mascot will earn their school $1,000 to spend on a health and wellness project.
  • Community Walk Mini Grant: The Healthiest State Initiative has partnered with the Iowa Parks and Recreation Association to award mini grant(s) to community parks and recreation departments to promote walking in their community and have registered for the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk. Applications due August 31. See full details and apply here.

Show your excitement for the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk by posting a photo from your walk (or walks from years past) and use the hashtag #WalkMoreConnectMore or #HSIWalk2021 on social media. For more information and to register a walk, visit


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