By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
An inexpensive Kansas State University Research and Extension fitness program has thousands of Kansans dusting off their walking shoes and making a commitment to improve their health.
The low-cost, eight-week program – Walk Kansas 2009 – encourages teams of six to compile 15-minute segments of heart-healthy exercise (walking, biking, gardening, active housework, etc.) to equal the distance of 423 miles across Kansas.
While the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days a week (for a total of 150 minutes a week) for most adults, suiting up and going to the gym isn’t always necessary.
Everyday activities, such as walking around the block or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, can help with weight or weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and the risks of diabetes and some cancers.
Walk Kansas 2009 is scheduled March 8-May 2 and will mark the eighth year the fitness challenge has been offered. The program has grown steadily, and, in 2008, most of the more than 20,000 people who participated, met their goal.
Registration is $7 and includes program materials, a weekly newsletter with nutrition and health tips, recipes and an ending celebration.
An optional 2009 Walk Kansas
T-shirt (in chocolate brown or kiwi green) is available for purchase.
The deadline for registration is Wednesday. For registration or more information, contact Seward County K-State Extension family and consumer sciences agent Kathy Bloom at 624-5604, or e-mail
This is Bloom’s second year with the program, but she said she believes the program has been in Seward County for at least five to six years.
“We’ve already got several teams signed up,” she said. “We’re excited about it. This year, one thing that’s changed about it is you used to track your miles, and this year, it’s tracking minutes. Every 15 minutes of physical activity equals one mile. You try to work out what is equivalent to walking the state of Kansas, which is 423 miles. That’s a really good goal over the eight-week period.”
With Wednesday’s deadline nearing, Bloom said entries are trickling in.
“We encourage people to get their registrations turned into us,” she said. “You can find all the information on our Web site or give us a call and come by and pick up some forms.”
Bloom said Walk Kansas has been a good success in the past in Seward County.
“It’s just a really good way to get people motivated and get out and get active,” she said. “It’s fun to do it with your friends and neighbors.”