May 8, 2019
Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Health experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-intense physical activity

The Walk with Ease program is here to help Montanans improve their health

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials state that a sedentary lifestyle can have damaging effects on a person’s overall health. And, in Montana, 20 percent of adults report not engaging in any physical activity and are at an increased risk for developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, as well as anxiety and depression. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  recommends adults should strive for 150 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity per week, which includes walking.

“Walking is a great way to incorporate a safe, low-impact aerobic exercise into a daily routine,” said DPHHS Healthy Living Program Manager Melissa Dale. “It is suitable for most people and mitigates the risk of developing chronic conditions resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.”

In a recent article published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the benefits of walking in a programmatic format were showcased through the efforts of the DPHHS Walk with Ease exercise program.

Dale said Walk with Ease is a 6-week, community-based walking program that has been shown to increase walking and physical activity for people at any fitness level, decrease fatigue levels, and improve the confidence to exercise.

In Montana, the program is available in Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Chinook, Crow Agency, Cut Bank, Dillon, Forsyth, Fort Belknap Agency, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Kalispell, Miles City, Rocky Boy’s Agency, Scobey, Shelby, Sidney, St. Ignatius, and Thompson Falls.

Dale points out that participants show a marked improvement once they complete the program. She said that 81% of participants report walking prior to beginning the program, but then by the end of the 6 weeks 97% report that they’ve incorporated walking into their weekly exercise routine. 

“The Walk with Ease program engages everyone at any fitness level to start their journey towards better health,” Dale said.

The program is open to anyone who would like to improve their physical activity. To start walking towards a healthier you, locate a class near you or become a Walk with Ease leader and host a class in your community or worksite. Please visit dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/arthritis or contact Dale at (406) 444-0959 or Melissa.Dale@mt.gov