By JAMES BELL
Registration is open now for the K-State Research and Extension’s Walk Kansas program.
The annual eight-week activity challenge is designed to encourage activity in children and adults, set to begin on March 26.
“We try to change things up a little bit each year,” said Cottonwood Extension District Family and Community Wellness agent Monique Koerner.
This year, participants can select from several team challenges, from 435 to 1,200 miles.
“Typically, it's a group activity,” Koerner said. “So, people get teams of four to six people together – you can also do it solo as well – but there are typically three different trails that people can choose from based on the activity challenge that they want for those eight weeks.”
Whether in a team or solo, she said the goal of the program is to help participants stay healthy.
“Staying active and having healthy eating habits can actually reduce our chances of developing some of those chronic diseases, heart disease, diabetes, those types of things,” Koerner said. “As we get older, it's important to focus a little bit more on those things and maybe be more intentional. And so I think that's what Walk Kansas brings to the table.”
The program has a dedicated website, walkkansasonline.org, where participants register and track the progress of area teams.
“You can watch your trail on the map as well,” Koerner said. “So, it just makes it a little more fun when you're doing it together as a team and can choose a trail and watch your progress on the map and see what other teams are doing.”
There's a whole health breakdown on it as well with tabs for physical activity guidelines, basics of exercise and strength training, healthy eating guidelines including nutritional recipes, stress management, relationship and memory improvement tips, she said.
While the website has various tools for encouraging healthy behaviors, only tracking walk time or steps is required.
Registration is $10.
Registration is not locked into a location, and participants from outside Kansas are welcome, but participants will be able to see area activities after selecting an extension district.