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It’s National Walking Day: Here’s How to Hit Your Stride

To celebrate National Walking Day and the beginning of April’s Move More Month, lace-up your sneakers and find your stride.

Studies have shown walking more and sitting less may help people maintain a healthier weight, ward off depression and prevent serious health issues like heart disease. A report from Harvard Medical School concluded that walking can help curb sweet cravings, boost the immune system and ease joint pain.

If you see runners while you’re out moving and wonder if walking is a cop-out, rest assured that studies say no. 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.  

With that in mind, here are tips to help you get out and walk more:

  • Think FIT, which stands for frequency (500 steps within seven minutes six times per day), intensity (3,000 steps within 30 minutes each day) and tenacity (at least 10,000 total steps per day).
  • Pair up with a walking pal. There are several advantages to recruiting a new workout friend, likely because that person can hold you accountable and offer support.
  • Check if your employer offers incentive-based wellness programs, as some plans may enable people to earn financial incentives by meeting walking goals.
  • Keep your walks from getting boring by exploring a neighborhood trail or scenic pathway. This site has various walking resources and 10,000-step walking routes in more than 50 cities nationwide, including Texas, helping people visualize what that distance looks like in their local communities.
  • Pledge to walk more at uhcwalkingmaps.com, and become eligible for a chance to win one of hundreds of walking-related prizes, including an Apple Watch®. As part of the sweepstakes, UnitedHealthcare will donate a total of $25,000 on behalf of the first 25,000 people to sign the pledge to Boys & Girls Clubs to help reduce childhood obesity.

The American Heart Association established Move More Month to encourage people, schools, workplaces and communities to walk at least 30 minutes per day and take a step toward better health.

UnitedHealthcare Integrates Apple Watch into Motion Wellness Program

For the first time, Apple Watch® will be integrated into UnitedHealthcare Motion®, a national digital wellness program that provides people with financial incentives for meeting daily walking goals.

After paying tax and shipping, eligible UnitedHealthcare plan participants will be able to receive and start using the Apple Watch later this year, with the option to apply program earnings toward the full purchase of the device. UnitedHealthcare Motion participants who already own an Apple Watch may also be able to use it with the program.

The world’s No. 1 smart watch is a health and fitness companion with intelligent coaching features, water resistance and, now with Apple Watch Series 3, it also features an altimeter. The program’s walking goals are set in the UnitedHealthcare Motion app, which is integrated with Apple’s HealthKit to use data from the Apple Watch to track daily activity.

Since UnitedHealthcare Motion’s inception, participants have collectively walked more than 180 billion steps and earned nearly $30 million in rewards. Among eligible employees, 66 percent registered their devices, with nearly two-thirds of those active with the program.

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas Donates Hasbro’s NERF ENERGY Game Kits to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston

Marian Cabanillas (far right) of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas distributed NERF Energy Game Kits to members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.

UnitedHealthcare donated 150 NERF ENERGY Game Kits this week to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston to encourage kids to become more active. The donation is part of a national initiative between Hasbro and UnitedHealthcare, featuring Hasbro’s NERF products that are designed to get kids moving through “exergaming.”

Each kit features a NERF ENERGY Game Band, a NERF PRO FOAM soccer ball and instructions to download the NERF ENERGY RUSH mobile game. As kids participate in physical activity, they earn “energy points” that are tracked by the activity band, and these points turn into screen time to play the mobile game on a smartphone or tablet.

UnitedHealthcare is donating 10,000 NERF Energy Game Kits to elementary schools and community organizations across the country.   

Kids were led through exercises with UnitedHealthcare mascot, Dr. Health E. Hound, to test their new NERF ENERGY Game Kit that tracks activity.