For anyone that has been looking for a good reason to start working off that “quarantine 15” or a cure winter’s cabin fever, registration is open for the spring 2021 edition of Walk Across Arkansas. 

Walk Across Arkansas begins March 15 and will run for eight weeks. There is no cost to participate. Visit https://walk.uada.edu to register. 

The twice-a-year public health event attracts scores of teams from all over Arkansas. Last year, the 218 teams from both the spring and fall editions racked up 1.45 million minutes of exercise.  

Even though it’s called Walk Across Arkansas, any type of intentional activity is encouraged, just as long as participants log their active minutes. People can participate as individuals or as part of a team of co-workers, friends or even the people in your “COVID bubble.” Past teams have engaged in friendly competitions – further encouraging team members to be active.  

“Walk Across Arkansas is a great opportunity to work on increasing physical activity and creating connections with your team,” said Heather Jackson, extension program associate-health for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Over the course of this online, eight-week program, everyone is invited to improve their health with this free program.” 

Pandemic impacts 

Bryan Mader, assistant professor and extension health specialist for the Division of Agriculture, said that the pandemic has made its mark on our exercise habits, and often not in a good way.  

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have not been able to get the amount of physical activity we need to stay healthy—gyms have been closed and home workout equipment can be costly,” he said. “One solution that does not require a membership nor any expensive equipment is walking.  

“Walking is one of the best ways to maintain our health. Walking and other physical activity has been shown to aid in weight loss, reduce high blood pressure, reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and cancer and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety,” Mader said. “We recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That’s just about 20 minutes per day of walking to improve your health!” 

The best part, Mader said, is that Walk Across Arkansas “is open to everyone, regardless of age.”

Division of Agriculture representatives reminded participants to be sure to consult with a physician before starting any exercise program.

To learn about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit https://uada.edu/ 

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 is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. Those requiring a reasonable accommodation to participate or needing materials in another format should contact the county extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.