For many in Kansas, participating in Walk Kansas – a K-State Research and Extension health challenge – signals spring. This year the Walk Kansas program will run from March 19 through May 13, 2017.
During the eight-week program, teams of four to six people, one serving as the captain, work toward a common goal – typically to walk at least 150 minutes per person per week, which collectively is enough to walk 423 miles. Though the team does not actually walk across Kansas, 423 miles is the equivalent of the distance across the state.
The program is geared toward addressing crucial issues in our state. Less than half of Kansas adults meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity (150 minutes a week of moderate exercise) and only 19 percent eat enough fruits and vegetables. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, if Americans were to stop smoking, exercise regularly and eat well, they could prevent up to 80 percent of heart disease and stroke, 80 percent of type 2 diabetes, and 40 percent of cancers.
Even though individuals report their weekly activity as part of a team, it doesn’t mean they must walk together as a team, although some teams do. Teammates, however, are encouraged to connect and support each other. Individuals report their activity online or to their team captain each week. It is common for a family, a group of friends, or co-workers to register as a team. Additionally, with the help of technology, some teams are made up of people in different communities or from different parts of the country.
The cost to participate is $8 per person, which helps to cover program materials, including a weekly newsletter with nutrition and health tips and recipes. Walk Kansas T-shirts can also be purchased for an additional cost.
Information about the program and how to register a team online is available on the Walk Kansas website at www.walkkansas.org. Teams can also sign up for the program by contacting the Frontier Extension District office in Garnett at 785-448-6826, Ottawa 785-229-3520, or Lyndon 785-828-4438, to complete a paper registration packet.
Information thanks to Chelsea Richmond, Frontier Extension District Agent, Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health.