Walk Kansas program begins March 18

The annual Walk Kansas program will begin March 18 and end May 12.

Participants are encouraged to recruit at least four of your friends or coworkers, and register at http://www.walkkansasonline.org/

The program is for all fitness levels. Whether you walk around the block or your idea of a great afternoon is a three-mile hike, this program helps you work toward or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Plus, it can connect you with friends, colleagues at work, or family members as you log miles as part of a team.

Since the launch of Walk Kansas in 2001, thousands of Kansans have walked millions of miles at almost no cost, but the benefits are huge.

State Walk Kansas Coordinator Sharolyn (Flaming) Jackson said, “Study after study has shown that walking and other forms of moderate exercise can cut rates of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease by at least 40 percent.

“After eight weeks, many participants say they sleep better and have more energy, endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility,” she added.

Walk Kansas is not just about walking. Through the eight weeks, participants receive a weekly e-newsletter with tips on healthy eating, strength training, mental and physical well-being and recipes.

The Walk Kansas website has information about converting such activities as swimming, bicycling and dancing to miles, for those who prefer activities other than walking.

This year, the Marion County are highlighting fitness activities around the county that will be free for all Walk Kansas participants.

This year, for the first time, participants will learn about the 8 Wonders of Kansas as they log the minutes they’ve walked each week. The 8 Wonders include such places as the Kansas Cosmosphere, Monument Rock and Castle Rocks,and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and the Flint Hills.

These places were identified through a contest series organized by the Kansas Sampler Foundation to inspire awareness of the beauty and value in Kansas, and to encourage travel.

Walk Kansas participants don’t actually walk to those places, but as they log the minutes online that they’ve walked in their own neighborhoods, they learn about those iconic sites around Kansas.

More information is available at walkkansas.org or by the Marion County K-State Research and Extension office at 620-382-2325.