Spring is here and it’s time to get moving. The Walk Kansas program sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and led in Marion County by extension agent Renae Riedy can help, and for the first time, participants are able to sign up online at walkkansas.org.
The program calls for teams of six people who commit to walking at least 423 miles — the number of miles across Kansas — in eight weeks.
The event challenges participants to meet increasing levels of exercise. Participants will log and report their exercise each week. They will receive weekly newsletters with exercise and nutrition tips, recipes, and stress management ideas.
Registration fee is $8. Deadline is March 25.
More information is available from Riedy at (620) 382-2325 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program was launched in 2001 with 5,000 participants from 30 counties. It now includes every county in the state. Participation includes 16,000 to 17,000 per year.
“We know that it is a challenge to practice healthful lifestyle habits consistently, and we all have periods of time where we ‘fall off the wagon,’ so to speak,” Riedy said. “Walk Kansas provides an opportunity to refocus and get back on track in the spring each year.”
Sharolyn Flaming Jackson, KSU extension specialist who helped originate the program, said its impact is more important than the numbers. For instance, in 2015, 91 percent of participants reported being more physically active, 85 percent met program goals and felt confident they would continue healthy lifestyle habits, 83 percent increased fruit and vegetable consumption, 60 percent reported having increased energy; and 50 percent increased endurance.