Not happy about your “COVID curves” and your “Quarantine 15,” the 15 pounds gained during self-isolation?
No wonder. Schedules have been upended. Parents work at home. They are home schooling their kids. Medical checkups are postponed. Yes, COVID-19 and comfort food have created the perfect storm for those already struggling with the few extra pounds that no one needs.
Howdy Health has come to the rescue with “Walk Across Texas.” Howdy Health is a series of web-based, health-related programs that include “Walk Across Texas,” a 20-year-old program created by Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.
“Walk Across Texas” consists of two year-round programs — one for adults and one for youth. Both are eight weeks long, shrewdly designed to help Texans of any age develop a physical activity habit.
All ages are encouraged to establish teams to join in their quest for good health. Young people can create teams through their schools, after-school clubs, 4-H clubs, and the like. Adults can urge their friends, family and coworkers to join them. The purpose of the teams is to give encouragement and support to members “ … using a fun and motivating approach. The program gives participants the freedom to be active at their own pace without setting unrealistic expectations,” according to the “Walk” organizers.
Here is how it works: Each team can include up to eight members. Each member needs to walk about 2 miles a day, 13 miles a week, keeping a record of his/her miles each week using an Apple watch, Fitbit or pedometer as they virtually walk across the state of Texas — 832 miles.
The Howdy Health professionals emphasize that, if walking is not a participant’s thing, any activity can count toward the journey across Texas — running, biking, spinning, dancing — even gardening. The point, the organizers say, is to measure steps with a pedometer since 2,000 steps equal one mile.
Will “Walk Across Texas” really melt away that Quarantine 15? Walk organizers enthusiastically say, “Yes, even in inactive or low-active participants.”
The Family and Community Health Unit of A&M’s AgriLife Extension program confirms the “Walk’s” effectiveness in a 2016 study conducted among 11,000 adults who participated in the program. The results were published in BMC, a public health journal that focuses on the impact of health policies on communities.
One of the most encouraging findings from the study is that “… ‘Walk Across Texas’ not only attracted participants from all physical activity levels, it was able to help inactive and low-active participants become and remain physically active over the course of the program,” according to Mark D. Faries, Ph.D., an associate professor in family and community health and the principal investigator for the research.
The positive results from the study confirm that “Walk Across Texas” is the perfect option for those who want to increase their physical activity in a supportive environment, no matter where they are starting from, said Michael Lopez, one of the study’s co-authors and program specialist.
Get started by registering at walkacrosstexas.org. There is an adult signup sheet and one for youngsters, too.