Walking program that respects social distance guidelines to start in April

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A six-week, community-based walking program can provide health benefits and confidence, Holly Miner, from Montana State University Extension said.

“Walking is a great way to incorporate a safe, low-impact aerobic exercise into a daily routine,” Miner said. “It is suitable for most people and mitigates the risk of developing chronic conditions resulting from a sedentary lifestyle and during this shutdown it is a safe way to continue to get your exercise.”

Department of Public Health and Human Services officials state that a sedentary lifestyle can have damaging effects on a person’s overall health. In Montana, 20 percent of adults report not engaging in any physical activity and are at an increased risk for developing high blood pressure, type 2 Diabetes, as well as anxiety and depression.

Miner said Walk with Ease is a sixweek, community-based walking program people can participate in individually. It has been shown to increase walking and physical activ ity for people at any fitness level, decrease fatigue levels and improve the confidence to exercise.

“This is a program people can participate in while maintaining a sixfoot social distance,” Miner said. “It’s great for people to get some physical activity without putting themselves at risk.”

Participants show a marked improvement once they complete the program. Before the start of the Walk with Ease program 81% of participants reported walking prior to beginning the program, but then by the end of the 6 weeks 97% report that they’ve incorporated walking into their weekly exercise routine.

In a recent article published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the benefits of walking in a programmatic format were showcased through the efforts of the Montana DPHHS Walk with Ease exercise program.

“The Walk with Ease program engages everyone at any fitness level to start their journey towards better health,” Miner said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults should strive for 150 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity per week, which includes walking.

This walking program is open to anyone who would like to improve their physical activity. Registration for the Walk with Ease class will start April 1. For more information or help with registration, call Holly Miner, Family and Consumer Science Agent, Big Horn County MSU Extension at 406-665-9770.

Registration is available online here.

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