Feb. 19, 2020
Walk Across Arkansas registration opens March 2
By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Walk Across Arkansas is March 16 – May 10
- Registration opens March 2 at https://walk.uaex.edu/
- Event focuses on minutes, not mileage
LITTLE ROCK — If your New Year’s fitness resolve has waned, you might need a new challenge to get back on track. Walk Across Arkansas can help.
For eight weeks, hundreds of Arkansans form teams and log the time they spend exercising. Events are organized each spring and fall by the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, with the goal of helping Arkansans lead healthier lives.
Last year, 524 people logged 798,340 minutes in the Fall 2019 Walk Across Arkansas. There were 104 participating teams across 37 counties. Many of those participants later reported they had more energy, slept better, controlled stress, strengthened their relationships, lost weight or inches, and improved their blood panels and blood pressure.
“Our data showed there was a significant difference in activity levels, so people were more active at the end of the program,” said Dr. Laura Balis, a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture assistant professor of health and an extension specialist. “Mileage has been a focus in the past, but now we are trying to shift the focus to participants increasing their physical activity by meeting their personal exercise goals.”
Too few Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced its Active People Health Nation initiative with a goal of 27 million more active people by 2027.
Research recommends that adults exercise for at least 150 minutes per week and youth get 60 minutes of exercise daily. Physical activity can lower the risk of early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers, according to the CDC. Exercise also helps with weight loss, reduces depression, improves energy.
“Walking is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to get fit,” said Addie Wilson, program associate for health. “Adding in even small amounts of exercise to your daily routine can have positive results that can improve health.”
Participation is simple. Grab a few friends to form a team and register at https://walk.uaex.edu/.
Then, from March 16 to May 10, record the amount of time you spend walking or getting any other form of exercise.
“We encourage and count all types of physical activity that get the heart rate up,” Balis said.
A little team competition can keep members motivated and accountable for doing what they say they’ll do.
“Everyone is working toward the same goal of more physical activity,” Wilson said. “Having support and encouragement from friends can really make a difference.”
Minutes can be logged online, or you can contact your local county extension agent for forms. For more information about Walk Across Arkansas, visit uaex.edu/walk or contact your county extension agent.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Tracy Courage
Director of Communications
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service