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College of Human Ecology

Statewide fitness program to begin

Thursday, February 2, 2006

MANHATTAN, Kan. - With spring approaching, Kansans are apt to see an ant-like army of walkers participating in the Walk Kansas program.

The Kansas State University health and fitness program attracted nearly 20,000 Kansans in 2005. More are expected this year, said Mike Bradshaw, state coordinator of the program and a K-State Research and Extension health and safety specialist.

Walking the equivalent of what it would take to walk across the state is the goal, but no one person is expected to cover the distance - which, counting from east to west, equals 423 miles. Walkers form teams of six to cover the distance in eight weeks, combining their mileage and walking whenever and wherever they please, Bradshaw said.

Team members can walk individually or together. They record their own miles and report weekly to a team captain. Minutes spent in other heart-healthy aerobic activities, such as running, swimming or bicycle riding, also count in the fitness effort.

Typically, fewer than 10 percent of the teams participating fail to meet their goal, Bradshaw said.

The fitness effort's sponsors are local Extension offices, which may charge a minimal fee to cover the cost of nutrition and health newsletters, a Walk Kansas T-shirt, or the like. To date, 99 of Kansas´ 105 counties have signed up to offer the program this year.

For more information about Walk Kansas or other health and fitness topics, Kansans can contact their county or district Extension office.

This article was posted on Thursday, February 2, 2006, and is filed under College News.