Hats off to the Milford Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness Council for organizing the third annual Step by Step to A Healthier Milford, which encourages residents to walk for a healthier lifestyle.

The event will kick off on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The six-week self-monitoring walking program was developed to inspire a user-friendly and practical method to adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

All Milford residents are invited to participate. Walkers pay a registration fee of $20 and receive a pedometer and goodie bag.

A portion of the proceeds fund an annual scholarship for college students and ongoing health and wellness educational programs developed and presented by the Health & Wellness Council.

People may register by going to Milfordct.com, or register by 9 a.m. at the kickoff.

The kickoff will take place at Walnut Beach Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 28. Beginning at 9 a.m., there will be exhibits offering health information, various physical activity demonstrations, and sign-up time on the “fitness pledge board.”

In addition, all registered walkers will receive a complimentary six-week membership at the Woodruff Family YMCA and LA Fitness. Mayor Benjamin G. Blake, Chamber CEO/President President Kathy Alagno, and other dignitaries and walkers will participate in the inaugural walk on Silver Sands Boardwalk — rain or shine.

In 2012, 100 participants accrued four million steps. The goal of the six-week measured walking program is for each participant to increase the number of steps they take each day and reap the many positive health benefits associated with increased physical activity — burn calories, strengthen back muscles, slim the waist, and more, organizers said.

“Tracking the number of steps taken each day is easy with the provided pedometer, step tracking guide and tracking sheet,” according to a press release about the walk. “The Chamber will keep tallies of all walkers’ steps. The ultimate goal for each individual is to achieve 10,000 steps per day — the approximate equivalent of five miles. The walking can be done almost anywhere. Individuals, group and corporate walkers are invited and encouraged.”

All registered walkers are invited to attend a Celebration and Recognition of Accomplishments on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Milford Hospital Conference Room. The wrap-up program will include refreshments, recognitions for walker accomplishments, and a brief motivational talk by Milford Hospital Education Director Diane Frankel-Gramelis on the long-lasting benefits of staying active.

For more information, and to register as a walker, visit milfordct.com or call the Milford Chamber at 203-878-0681.

Residents looking for a way to ease their way back into a healthy daily regimen may want to seriously consider taking advantage of the program. The camaraderie, social aspects and the pedometer are sure to make it just a little easier to take that plunge and start getting in shape.

The members of the Chamber of Commerce and the program sponsors ought to be proud of themselves for giving residents this opportunity and for raising awareness of the benefits of exercise.