5 ways to help you move more this summer

Summer is here and that means warmer, longer days to spend outdoors — and perhaps a chance to renew your focus on fitness. This may be especially important as the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many of us to spend more time inside over the past year, which may make it harder to get or stay active.

In fact, a recent study found that COVID-19 contributed to unwanted weight gain for 61% of Americans surveyed, with some adults gaining an average of 12-41 pounds.

A family with a mom, dad, a young girl and young boy riding their bikes A family with a mom, dad, a young girl and young boy riding their bikes

Whether you are ready to return to public fitness centers, are pursuing at-home workouts or exercising outdoors, daily physical activity is important.* Research shows that regular exercise may have a number of health benefits to both your body and your mind, including reducing high blood pressure and reducing the risk of depression.

If you need extra motivation this summer, you can go to UHCStepUp.com and sign the pledge to make health a priority. This may enable you to become eligible for a chance to win one of more than 100 fitness-related prizes**, such as a dream home gym, while joining golf star Rory McIlroy in seeking to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the most pledges received for a health campaign in one month (June 15 – July 15). On behalf of the first 60,000 people to sign the pledge, UnitedHealthcare will donate $1 each for a total of $60,000 to select Boys & Girls Clubs across the country for new sports equipment.

Looking for additional tips to help get or stay active? Here are five tips to consider to help you move more this summer and beyond:

1.     Make movement a priority. Remember to take short walks frequently throughout the day, as moving more and sitting less may help boost the immune system, ease joint pain and curb cravings for high-sugar foods that may contribute to inflammation and disease.  When the temperatures are warmer, it’s a good time to get outside and enjoy the benefits of exercising in nature — which on its own may help improve your mood. You can start small by tracking your current walking patterns and aim to add 1,000 extra steps as you work to improve your endurance. Also, consider taking a series of short walks throughout the day, aiming for six separate “mini-walks” of at least 300 to 500 steps each.

2.     Round out your home workout routine. Some people are embracing the potential benefits of at-home exercise, which is typically less expensive than a gym membership and may also help improve your financial fitness. Exercising at home may provide greater flexibility and convenience when incorporating a workout into a daily routine, while offering a more private experience. To help make the most of your at-home exercise efforts, consider investing in resistance bands and a pair of adjustable-weight dumbbells. Both offer versatility and may be inexpensive options that may help improve your strength.

3.     Identify “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” motivators. In general, people are motivated by a combination of intrinsic factors, such as wanting to maintain a healthy weight, and extrinsic ones, such as financial rewards. Daily exercise likely offers several intrinsic motivators as research shows consistent movement may help reduce stress and prevent issues like heart disease. Extrinsic motivation may come in the form of wellness programs, many of which include a financial incentive for healthy activities.

4.     Dance to your favorite songs. Walking isn’t the only aerobic exercise that may help you achieve your daily steps. Dancing combines the benefits of aerobic plus weight-bearing exercise, which may lead to better heart health, stronger muscles and reduced stress.

5.     Take a family bike ride. Cycling is a low-impact exercise for people of all ages. It may be a fun way to stay active, while also exploring the outdoors with the entire family. Cycling may help build muscles, increase strength, stamina and flexibility — and it may be an adventurous way to get fit.

Following these tips may help you swing into summer and find motivation to stay active, while encouraging healthy habits that may eventually translate to meaningful improvements.   

*Check with your doctor to determine what activity level is right for you.
** Participation in any UnitedHealthcare product or program is not a requirement to participate in the sweepstakes.

Boys & Girls Clubs, Guinness World Records, Nike, Peloton, and TaylorMade are not sponsors of this promotion. 

All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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 www.uhcstepup.com between 12:01 AM CT on 6/15/2021 and 11:59 PM CT on 9/22/2021, follow online instructions, and agree to take the “Step Up for Summer Sweepstakes” Pledge to be healthier. Prizes. One (1) Grand Prize consisting of a home gym (maximum approximate retail value (ARV) $6,750), and a pre-paid credit card to purchase a Peloton All-Access membership for 10 years based on the present-day monthly cost of $39.99 (ARV $4,900); One (1) Golf Prize: a set of TaylorMade golf clubs, including a signed golf bag from Rory McIlroy and Rory Junior Golf Set (ARV $1,598). Fifty (50) First Place prizes: A pre-paid credit card to cover the monthly cost for one year for a Peloton Digital Membership to the Peloton App based on the present-day monthly cost of $12.99 (ARV $156). Fifty (50) Second Place prizes: Nike gift card ($25).  Limit 1 entry per person. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received for each drawing. See www.uhcstepup.com for drawing dates, details, limitations & Official Rules. United HealthCare Services, Inc., Minnetonka, MN 55343.