Published On: Mon, Apr 6th, 2020

Tips to Stay Active During Physical Distancing

UnitedHealthcare Encourages Americans to Stay Active – Even at Home – with the Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes During April’s Move More Month

Celebrate Move More Month: Tips to stay active

Boca Raton, FL – With more focus on healthy habits – such as washing hands frequently and staying home when sick to help avoid spreading COVID-19 – it’s important South Floridians remain mindful about the importance of daily walking. A report from Harvard Medical School concluded that walking can help boost the immune system, helping reducing the duration and intensity of colds and flu.[1]

April is Move More Month, an annual celebration to encourage people to walk for at least 30 minutes* each day. With that in mind, Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, UnitedHealthcare’s senior medical officer for Florida, is available to provide the tips below to help make walking part of your daily routine during these challenging times:

+ Stay Active at Home: Even if you are spending more time at home, it is crucial to still stay active and not fall into the trap of only binging the latest TV series. Take short walks throughout the day, aiming for six separate “mini-walks” of at least 300 to 500 steps. To boost cardiovascular fitness, aim for at least one “brisk walk” of at least 2,000 to 3,000 steps within 30 minutes each day. To help build endurance, work toward 8,000 to 10,000 aggregate steps per day.     

+ Start Small and Dream Big: If those targets seem daunting, it helps to start slowly and build up. And don’t discount walking compared to running: Maintaining a quick walking pace has been shown to be on par with running when it comes to lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Once the pandemic ends, think about a trip to explore a “bucket list” hike such as the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii. While it might seem mundane to only walk around your home or neighborhood right now, studies show that setting long-term goals may help promote a healthier lifestyle.       

+ Identify Motivators: People are generally motivated by “intrinsic” factors, such as wanting to maintain a healthy weight, and “extrinsic” ones, such as financial rewards. Walking offers intrinsic motivators given research has shown movement may help reduce the risk of depression. For external motivation, check with your employer about incentive-based wellness programs that provide financial rewards for meeting walking goals. During April, people can go to uhcwalkingmaps.com, sign the pledge to walk more and become eligible for a chance to win a Peloton® bike or an Apple Watch®.**

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is encouraging Americans to stay active – even while at home – with its third annual Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes.
Walking – either at home, outside solo or with immediate family members – remains a generally safe option to help support emotional and physical well-being, including helping boost the immune system [1] . If walking outside, remember to maintain the recommended distance of at least six feet from other people due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
“Walking ranks as one of the most popular and accessible ways for people to help maintain or improve their health, so we hope our Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes helps encourage Americans to become more active during these challenging times,” said Anne Docimo, M.D., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare. “By entering the sweepstakes and pledging to walk more, people have a chance to win one of more than 100 wellness-related prizes while taking a step toward getting or staying active – either at home or by following safe practices while outside.”
The sweepstakes celebrates National Walking Day (April 1) and continues throughout Move More Month (April), enabling people to become eligible for a chance to win one of more than 100 wellness-related prizes, including:

  • Grand Prize: Peloton® “Works Package,” with a two-year subscription plus a pair of riding shoes, weights, bike mat, headphones and heart rate monitor (one package available);
  • First Prize: Apple Watch® (10 devices available); and
  • Second Prize: $25 gift cards to Foot Locker® (100 gift cards available).

People can enter the sweepstakes at UHCwalkingmaps.com and sign the pledge to walk more. The website provides information about the benefits of walking, suggested hiking trails and 10,000-step walking routes in over 50 cities, helping people visualize what that distance looks like in their areas*.

On behalf of the first 30,000 people to sign the pledge, UnitedHealthcare will donate a total of $30,000 to EverWalk, a national nonprofit helping strengthen people and communities through walking**.     
As part of the sweepstakes, the UnitedHealthcare Step Up for Better Health Survey provides insights into Americans’ opinions and attitudes about walking. The nationally representative survey found:

  • 53% of respondents said walking is their preferred method of exercise;
  • 65% prefer walking on the beach instead of the mountains, while 80% favor the countryside over the city;
  • 25% of respondents consider the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii as the top domestic “bucket list” hike, followed by the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim (21%), and the Appalachian Trail (20%);  
  • Those who own a dog are twice as likely to walk every day, yet these pet owners walk an average of three minutes fewer per walk compared to other Americans;
  • 65% said they listen to music on walks, while 83% use time walking to brainstorm or think; and
  • 55% report using a digital device to track their walks.

“Walking has the potential to improve the health of people and communities, bringing Americans together along a shared journey toward health,” said Diana Nyad, founder of EverWalk and international fitness icon best known for successfully swimming from Cuba to Miami (110 miles) at age 64. “We appreciate the donation from UnitedHealthcare, as it will help achieve our shared mission to help people live healthier lives.”    

Studies have shown walking can help people maintain a healthier weight, strengthen bones, ward off depression and prevent or help manage various chronic conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. [2]

Apple Watch is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Foot Locker is a registered trademark of Foot Locker Retail, Inc. Peloton is a registered trademark of Peloton Interactive, Inc. Apple, Foot Locker and Peloton are not participants in or sponsors of this promotion.

[1]  Harvard University, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

[2] Harvard University, 2018 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health

About the Survey
The 2020 Step Up for Better Health Survey was conducted Feb. 24, 2020, using an online probability sample of 1,067 U.S. adults 18 and older. The margin of error was plus or minus 3% at the 95% confidence level.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by

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