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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

Walk Kansas encourages fitness

March 16, 2003

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It's time for Walk Kansas, a statewide exercise program for people of all ages, and that includes senior adults -- sponsored by Kansas State Research and Extension.

The name comes from the distance across Kansas, 423 miles. That's the distance for a team of six people to walk in the eight-week program.

Sharolyn Jackson, Riley County Extension Agent, explains how the program works. This year it began March 15 and runs to May 9.

The team of six has a captain. The team exercises as a group or individually, reporting weekly to the captain, who reports to the county extension office where records are kept.

Walking is fine; about 1.75 miles a day (for all six team members) is enough. Other physical activity is also acceptable for the program goals. Each participant is to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. In addition to walking, some, especially older people, may choose aerobic exercise, swimming, riding a bicycle, chair exercises, or an exercise class at the senior center. Whatever exercise is chosen, it needs to be part of a regular schedule. Exercise is important for senior adults, Jackson says, to maintain flexibility, strength, and heart health.

The cost is $10, and participants receive a T-shirt and a weekly newsletter.

The program may vary from county to county, so to get started call the extension office in your county. Then find five others for your team.

As part of a group, you'll be encouraged to stick with an exercise program, and the captain's weekly call will be incentive.

And in addition to having fun, you'll be helping yourself by improving your physical fitness.

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