Staying at home during COVID-19 may make it harder than usual to get in your daily steps. However, during this time it’s important for your health and well-being to stay active.
Walking – either at home or outside – remains a generally safe option for adults and children during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless you are showing signs of the illness or have tested positive. Regardless, if you do decide to walk outside you need to abide by social distancing guidance from the CDC or your local health department.
In addition, April is Move More Month, so it’s a good time to get active and increase your daily steps. On average, Americans walk about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which is around 1.5 to 2 miles. That may seem low compared to the common goal of 10,000 daily steps.
Keep in mind that many fitness centers are closed during COVID-19, and social distancing right now is the recommended Federal and state guidance, so, here are five creative ways to move more while you stay home:
- Take a walk or jog around the block
When the sun is shining, take advantage of it. You can still practice social distancing and enjoy the benefits of exercising in nature. As a way to start small, try tracking the steps you currently take and aim to add 1,000 extra steps to work your way up. Consider taking a series of short walks throughout the day, aiming for six separate “mini-walks” of at least 300 to 500 steps each.
To enhance cardiovascular fitness, consider incorporating at least one “brisk walk” of at least 2,000 to 3,000 steps for 30 minutes each day. To help build endurance, work toward 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. If you have a pet at home, bring them, too.
- Try free online workout classes
Many fitness companies are offering free online workout classes – even for non-members. Now is your chance to try out that yoga or high intensity interval training (HIIT) class you may have been curious about — in the comfort of your home.
- Be resourceful
If you don’t have workout equipment at home, try finding ways to substitute. Run up and down the stairs a few times a day, use the wall for push-ups or soup cans for bicep curls. While it may not be the traditional workout you are used to, it still gets your body moving and muscles working.
- Set an hourly alarm
Keep yourself accountable by setting an alarm to get up and walk around the house for a few minutes every hour. Small bursts of activity may help you reach your daily steps goal.
- Dance to your favorite songs
Walking isn’t the only aerobic exercise that gets your steps in. Turn up your favorite songs and throw a dance party with your family in the living room. It’s a great way to get your steps in and brighten your mood.
If you need extra motivation, check with your employer about incentive-based wellness programs, including ones that provide financial rewards for meeting certain daily walking goals. Plus, during April, people can go to uhcwalkingmaps.com, sign the pledge to walk more and become eligible for a chance to win one of more than 100 wellness-related prizes, including a Peloton® “Works Package” (plus two-year subscription) or an Apple Watch®.**
“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 our members to become more active during COVID-19,” 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 in your home or by following safe social distancing practices while outside.”
For more COVID-19 resources, click here.
**Participation in any UnitedHealthcare product or program is not a requirement to participate in the sweepstakes.
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.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Open to legal residents of 50 United States or the District of Columbia, 18 and older. To Enter: Visit UHCWalkingMaps.com between 12:01 AM CT on 3/25/2020 and 11:59 PM CT on 4/30/2020, follow online instructions, and agree to take the “Step Up for Better Health” Pledge to be healthier. Prizes: Grand (1): Peloton “Works Package” and two-year subscription (maximum ARV $4,000; First (10) Apple Watch® (ARV $199); Second (100): $25 Foot Locker® gift card. Limit 1 entry per person. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received for each drawing. See Website for drawing dates, details, limitations & Official Rules. United HealthCare Services, Inc., Minnetonka, MN 55343.