Walk Kansas, the annual statewide program that promotes physical activity and health, starts March 28. | Download this photo.
Put your best foot forward: Walk Kansas starts March 28
Eight-week program encourages physical activity, healthy eating
March 8, 2021
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The popular Walk Kansas program returns on March 28 and this year, new features were added to enhance its focus on physical and mental health.
“Physical activity can be a big player in disease prevention, but is also a big player in managing disease,” said Sharolyn Jackson, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer science specialist and Walk Kansas coordinator.
The program runs March 28-May 22.
This year’s Walk Kansas will highlight how physical activity and healthy eating can prevent or help people manage eight common challenges including mental health; heart disease; osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and brain health; obesity; arthritis; diabetes; and cancer.
Participants are encouraged to form teams of six, with one serving as captain. Team members record their own activity – walking, bicycling or other activity – online weekly. Participants do not have to walk together, or even live in Kansas. Since teams connect through technology, many teams form with family members or friends in other parts of the state or country, Jackson said.
For the first time this year, a pilot program allows participants to sign up individually rather than as part of team if they choose.
Though teams and individuals don’t actually walk across the state, the goal is to walk in their own neighborhoods or communities an equivalent distance to walking across Kansas. Plus, they’ll learn virtually about the state along the way. Each team (or individual) chooses one of three challenges at the outset, each with different goals.
Challenge 1, for example, sets a minimum guideline of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and takes a team on a virtual tour of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. Challenges 2 and 3 increase the goals set.
Those who sign up for the individual pilot program will walk (virtually) the Purple Power Trail, which begins on the Kansas State University campus. The individual sets a personal goal to determine how far along they will go during the eight weeks.
“We’re encouraging people to ‘move your way’ by engaging in moderate to vigorous activity, whether it’s walking, running, swimming or another activity,” Jackson said. “The program also encourages participants to make every bite count by eating nutrient dense foods.”
Participants will receive e-newsletters filled with recipes, activity and nutrition tips, plus information about local and statewide events and mini-webinars.
The fee to participate is $10 per person. State employees who participate can earn Health Quest credits and their fee is waived. A Walk Kansas t-shirt and other apparel is available for an additional cost.