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Walk Kansas program success stories
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There was a lot to celebrate at the conclusion of the 2014 Barton County Walk Kansas campaign. The eight week fitness challenge has become a signature program of K-State Research and Extension with nearly 20,000 participants state wide. Locally, 50 teams of six (300 participants) met or exceeded the goal of walking 423 miles, the distance across Kansas. An additional 75 people put their time in as well.
 Dee Krier started things off at the celebration with a quick demonstration of Tai Chi. She invited participants to give it a try and from the enthusiastic response of the audience I feel that will happen. My part of the program was to be a cheerleader in the area of healthy food choices. Research supports the notion that eating a healthy diet and incorporating physical activity into your schedule translates to improved health. I am always encouraging people to choose whole food instead of highly processed choices. And when it comes to beverages, skip the sugary ones and stick with water.
 Several success stories were shared that I want to pass along. One participant shared that seven years ago she did not have a team to walk with. She and her friend decided to do Walk Kansas anyway. They had such a positive experience that the next year they formed the “Family and Friends” team. This year that team logged over 2,500 miles and ate over 1000 servings of fruits and vegetables in eight weeks.
 Another team captain who works at the courthouse mentioned that they had two team members who had never done Walk Kansas before. Even with the challenging spring weather they got out and walked over their lunch hour. One of the team members is not a vegi or fruit lover but with the encouragement of friends they really increased the number of servings of these healthier choices.
 A third success story came as a result of my programming efforts at Barton County Academy, where students are working toward their high school diploma in a non-traditional setting. Earlier in the spring I shared fliers and information about Walk Kansas. Two teams formed and they really pushed each other. The end result was amazing. Twelve participants logged over 3000 miles!
 You don’t have to wait for Walk Kansas 2015 to get active. With more spring like weather on the way put that pair of comfortable walking shoes on and set some realistic goals for your own fitness challenge!
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. One may reach her at 620-793-1910 or