Hope Ark. — Hempstead County is registering walkers for its spring Walk Across Arkansas taking place March 16 – May 10.
The eight-week exercise program is 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 improve their health. Participation is free, and online registration opens March 2 at uaex.edu/walk.
Last year, 524 Arkansans statewide participated in the fall 2019 Walk Across Arkansas, logging 798,340 minutes, with 104 teams from 37 counties walking. Many of those participants reported they had more energy, slept better, controlled stress, strengthened relationships, lost weight or inches and improved their blood panels and blood pressure.
While mileage has been a focus in the past, this year’s event focuses on minutes and helping participants increase their physical activity.
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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Exercise also helps with weight loss and can improve mood and energy level. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, and youth need at least 60 minutes of exercise daily.
Participants can start slow and gradually build up their exercise time over the course of the eight weeks as they get stronger. If you need a little motivation to get going, having friends with similar goals can help you stay on track. Many folks really enjoy the social aspect and like to walk together. If you work full-time, you may need to walk whenever you can, but your team is there to motivate and support you. A little team competition can keep members motivated and accountable for doing what they say they’ll do.
To participate find a few friends to form a team and register online. Then, from March 16 to May 10, record the amount of time you spend walking or getting any other form of exercise.
Minutes can be logged online, or you can contact your local county extension agent for paper forms. For more information about Walk Across Arkansas, contact Terrie James, Hempstead Co. Extension Agent at 870-777-5771 or email at [email protected]