COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The kickoff of a new fitness initiative from Al Roker on NBC’s “TODAY” show featured NBC4 and local Columbus walking groups during its Wednesday morning broadcast.

NBC4’s Monica Day led a group of walkers from the German Village Walking Club and the African American Male Wellness Agency through Schiller Park while chatting with the “TODAY” show weather anchor as he walked with a group of his own around Rockefeller Plaza. The fitness program, called “Start TODAY,” is a month-long walking plan showing the simple and transformative power walking can have on a person.

During the segment, Day talked about the African American Male Wellness Agency and its mission to raise awareness about health.

“This group is really trying to get into the Black community, make sure that men and women are getting all their screenings, that they’re aware of their health, maybe issues that could be fixed by walking,” Day told Roker. “They have a walk coming up here in August that we’re so excited about, but they are in 16 cities across the nation doing walks.”

In New York, Roker also discussed the benefits of walking with fitness trainer Stephanie Mansour. Mansour mentioned how walking can improve cardiovascular health, reduce “blood work levels that are too high” and emphasized the mental and emotional health benefits of reducing anxiety, stress and feelings of depression.

Mansour also recommended starting with a goal of 5,000 steps a day, which she called “attainable and manageable.” She added that the “TODAY” show plan only takes 20 minutes a day.

Viewers can join the Start Today Facebook page to follow along with the walking plan.