Walk Kansas: A step to well-being

By Denise Dias

Exercise is often referred to as a miracle drug. Research from the Physical Intervention Laboratory at Kansas State University has found that physical exercise, such as walking, improves not only your body, but also your mind. Keeping active is important for strengthening your heart and lungs.

The movement from exercise helps to keeps your joints nourished and limber. Exercise such as walking or lifting weights can build bones and ward off osteoporosis. Other benefits include weight control, reduced stress, improved attitude and a boost of energy.

Physical activity is a tool that you can use to improve your overall health. For many of us, it is hard find a balance between work, family and other commitments. We all have a limited amount of time, so find activities that you enjoy are key for success. Remember that you want to model a healthy, active lifestyle for your family and friends.

View physical activity as an enhancement of your daily well-being. Make it a part of your life, not something that you have to do, but something that you really want to do.

Self-care is not selfish! The idea that you should take care of everyone else’s needs before your own is so engrained into our society that we are made to feel guilty if we put our own needs first. We need to erase this idea and reverse it.

Physical activity is not only good for us, but it also helps us to be happier and more productive at work and home. If you can reduce your stress, maybe you can regain some sanity in this fast-paced world. You will be more willing to give to others after you have taken some time for yourself.

Walking is a simple and easy form of exercise that almost everyone can do. It is perfect for beginners and others who have been active for years. The beauty of walking is that you don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment. Walking is one of the safest ways to exercise because it puts less stress on your body than most other forms of exercise. Walking is a great choice if you are older or have been less active.

Starting out with a walking program such as Walk Kansas can help you to learn how to exercise safely and comfortably. This program helps to make walking fun! Participation in Walk Kansas can help you to make a personalized plan with realistic goals for improved fitness. The more resources, tips and strategies that you have will help you to “stick with it” even when you don’t feel like exercising.

If you would like to learn more about finding your “why” to start walking. Join our eight-week Walk Kansas team-based program from March 27 to May 21 that challenges walking teams to move more, sit less and make healthier choices. Cost is $10 per walker.

Anyone wanting to participate should gather a team of six members, choose a team name and captain, and contact the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office for registration information at johnson.k-state.edu and click on the Walk Kansas link or call 913-715-7000.

Denise Dias is family and consumer science agent at the Johnson County Extension Office.

A purple and yellow logo with the words Walk Kansas.