Move Arizona: Introducing a new workplace movement initiative
Spring in Arizona means blue skies, blooming cacti and beautiful temperatures. It's a great time to increase your physical activity.
Why move? Physical activity is an important element of your overall health. Evidence shows that prolonged sitting during the workday is associated with mortality rates similar to those of being obese or a smoker. People who are more active reduce their risk of disease, including diabetes, certain types of cancer and heart disease. There are mental benefits of movement as well, such as decreased levels of depression and anxiety and increased cognition.
In years past, Life & Work Connections collaborated with University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to bring Walk Across Arizona, a highly popular program that focused on walking, to University employees each spring. In 2021, to better accommodate different types of activity, Life & Work Connections is launching a new initiative called Move Arizona.
Move Arizona is an eight-week program, and it runs from Feb. 7 through April 3. It measures time spent engaged in physical activity, which means you don't need to convert your favorite modes of exercise into miles or steps. Following recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines, the goal of Move Arizona is to get employees engaging in 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
What counts as moderate movement? Anything that raises your heart rate and gets you sweating, such as brisk walking, dancing, hiking, practicing yoga or riding a bike. You can also count vigorous housework: pushing the lawn mower, scrubbing the tub, sweeping the floor, even walking the dog. If you're uncertain what qualifies, check the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's information on target and estimated maximum heart rate.
But don't think you have to move all those minutes in a big 2 1/2-hour chunk! The benefits of physical activity are cumulative throughout the day, so you can break activity into manageable 10- to 15-minute periods if you do not have longer stretches of time available.
If you're ready to get moving, Move Arizona is a great place to start. The program consists of teams of two to 10 members, with each led by a captain who manages the registration process and motivates everyone to keep moving. While captains must be University employees, team members can be friends, family members or neighbors. To serve as a captain, sign up for the captains email list and then mark your calendar for an orientation session on Jan. 27.
Not ready to be a team captain but still want to participate? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help you find a team. Now, let’s move!
Cindy Davis is the registered dietitian nutritionist at Life & Work Connections, where she manages programs that impact the population health of University employees. A two-time University of Arizona alumna, she holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition and dietetics and a master's degree in public health with a focus on health behavior and health promotion.
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A version of this article originally appeared on the Life & Work Connections website.