Facts for Living: How about a short walk … across Kansas? – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Facts for Living: How about a short walk … across Kansas?

By Rebecca McFarland
Frontier Extension Agent

More than half of the people living in Kansas do not reach the minimum weekly goal for physical activity and only 19 percent of Kansans eat enough fruits and vegetables each day. Chronic disease is responsible for more than 70 percent of health care expenditures in our state, but many chronic conditions can be prevented and controlled by healthy lifestyle behaviors.

K-State Research and Extension offers Walk Kansas, an eight-week physical activity program that uses a team-based approach to encourage participants to log 150 minutes of activity per week. Walk Kansas 2014 is March 16-May 11. Teams of six members work towards compiling minutes of physical activity equivalent to walking the 423-mile distance between Kansas’ east and west borders.walkkansas Knowing that team members are counting on each other to do their part can be an incentive for regular exercise. Members who log 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five or more days a week, can reach that goal in eight weeks.

Moderate physical activity is “walking, barely able to carry on a conversation, but not sing”. Vigorous activity is described as “struggling to say a few words before having to stop and catch your breath”.

Teams can choose from three challenges offered through the program. Challenge 1 is the distance across the state, and would require each member to reach the minimum guidelines of physical activity, 150 minutes per week. To reach Challenge 2, the team must go across the state and back, or 5 hours per week for each participant. Challenge 3 takes the team 1,200 miles around the perimeter of the state, a six-hour-per-week goal for each person.

In addition to the physical activity challenge, Walk Kansas also encourages participants to record daily fruit and vegetable consumption, and to take breaks from prolonged periods of sitting; participants are eligible to earn bonus minutes for doing so.

Teams consist of family members, co-workers and friends, and they often walk during a break or lunch, or after supper. Many who participate in the program report weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and cholesterol, and controlling diabetes.

If you are interested in forming a team and want more information about the program, you can visit our website at www.frontierdistrict.ksu.edu, or call the Lyndon office at 785-828-4438 or Ottawa office at 785-229-3520. Captain and participant packets will be available soon from both offices, as well as posted on the website. Registration fee is $15 per team and members can also purchase Walk Kansas short- and long-sleeved shirts at a low cost. Also, a weekly newsletter that includes healthy living tips and recipes is available for participants.

More information is also available at http://www.walkkansas.org/.

McFarland_RebeccaRebecca McFarland is the Frontier Extension District family and consumer sciences agent. For more information, she can be contacted at the Extension district’s Ottawa office, 1418 S. Main, Suite 2, Ottawa, KS 66067, or call 785-229-3520, or email [email protected].

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