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Manage the serious sitting disease
Berny Unruh

The human body was made to move. In a K-State Research and Extension Fact Sheet “Move More, Sit Less”, the author describes what happens when the body does not move for long periods of time: “the metabolism and muscle functions slow down and in some cases, even shut down and go into hibernation mode. Sitting physically distorts the muscles, tendons and ligaments, along with the tissues surrounding them, causing negative changes from low back pain to headaches”.

Low-energy, sedentary activities – such as sitting – worsen anxiety and depression in those who are already susceptible. The sedentary lifestyle has contributed greatly to an increase in obesity rates for the last 10 years in Kansas; officials say the state ranks in the upper one-third of heaviest states in the United States.

This sounds depressing! But there is hope. Research studies increasingly reveal that physical activity is paramount to minimizing and even reversing, the effects of aging. In fact, a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that several 5- or 10-minute exercise sessions spread throughout the day can have the same effect on long term health as a continuous 30-minute workout. 

If you’re looking for a motivating program to get you going, consider joining the Walk KS program. This is an 8-week program that challenges you to move more, sit less and make better nutrition choices. Check out for more information and the registration link. 

Anyone, young or old, can participate in Walk Kansas! Teams can include coworkers, family members, neighbors, and even friends from across the nation. The team concept is important so team members must agree to support and encourage one another. However, if you would rather set and work on your own goals, there is a solo option this year. 

If you have questions, please give Brenda or Donna a call at the Extension Office at 620-793-1910. The registration system will be open until March 31. Those already registered and paid can begin logging their minutes on March 28. 

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District.  She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at