Walk Kansas Kicks off March 16

Starting its 13th year, Walk Kansas, the eight-week program designed to promote activity and better health, begins March 16. Registration information is available at www.douglas.ksu.edu.

Walk Kansas is a team-based program in which groups of six people, one serving as a captain, work toward a common goal. That goal typically is for the team members to collectively meet the minimum goal for physical activity (150 minutes per person each week), to walk 423 miles over the eight-week period, the distance across Kansas.

Those teams that want a greater challenge can set a goal to walk the equivalent of across the state and back (846 miles) or around the perimeter of Kansas (1,200 miles).

"There is no magic bullet to keep us healthy for a lifetime," said Susan Johnson with K-State Research and Extension - Douglas County. "Exercise comes as close as anything we have to prevent chronic disease and extend life."

Another feature of the program is to log servings of fruits and vegetables eaten weekly.

In addition to receiving support and encouragement from team members, each participant will receive a weekly newsletter that will include tips for more active living, nutrition advice, a recipe, stress management ideas, and healthy living on a budget. The Walk Kansas web site will also provide short videos on physical activity and preparing healthy foods.

Of the 115 teams in Douglas County alone in 2013 (which included 677 participants), 82% were from workplaces (94 workplace teams). In addition, 65 of the workplaces paid for their employees to participate in the program. “In 2011, Douglas County had 186 teams with 1127 participants so it’s my goal to surpass Riley County and get over 1000 participants again this year” said Johnson.

On-line registrations are due by March 10th, however, late registrations will be accepted until 1:00 p.m. on March 21. The individual participant fee is $7.00, plus $2.00 for each additional family member living in the household. Again this year, to encourage employers to support wellness, we are offering a $2.00 off discount per participant (which totals $5.00 per participant) to workplaces who pay for their employees to participate in Walk Kansas.

Walk Kansas T-shirts are also available in three colors. They cost $7.00 per participant (size 2XL and larger cost $9.00).

For those who wish to participate but don't have a group to form a team, contact the K-State Research and Extension - Douglas County Office and ask to be placed on a team.

For more information, call 843-7058 or email pheikes@ksu.edu or susanjohnson@ksu.edu .

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