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Teams celebrate as Walk Kansas wraps up
Great Bend woman loses 60 pounds
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Members of the Fit for Life Gang, a Walk Kansas team in Great Bend, show off this years Walk Kansas T-shirts during a luncheon Wednesday at the GBRC Activity Center. Celebrating the wrap-up of the annual fitness challenge were, from left: Dorothy Piland, Mary Malone, Kayleen Kern, Joan Laraby and Shirley Detter. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The 2018 Walk Kansas Fitness Challenge wraps up Sunday, but local K-State Research and Extension Agent Donna Krug said the walking doesn’t need to end.
“I hope you have created a habit,” Krug told team members who attended a Walk Kansas Celebration on Wednesday at the GBRC Activity Center. The challenge started nearly eight weeks ago, on March 18. Six-person teams logged their minutes of walking or other exercise; every 15 minutes counted as 1 mile, and teams were encouraged to “walk” across the state as their journey was chronicled on an online map of Kansas.

There were 40 teams in the Cottonwood Extension District, which includes Barton and Ellis counties, Krug said. Teams chose one of three challenges: The 8 Wonders challenge, visiting the “8 Wonders of Kansas,” a 435-mile trek; a 764-mile Cross Country challenge that started in northeast Kansas and ended in the southwest corner of the state; and the Little Balkens to Nicodemus challenge, which covered 1,200 miles. For teams to complete their challenges in eight weeks, each member needed to walk about 2.5 hours a week for the first challenge, 4 hours for the second or 6 hours for the longest one.

As of Wednesday’s celebration, Great Bend’s Fit for Life Gang had logged the most miles in the 8 Wonders category, far exceeding their 435-mile goal. The women on the team said they exercise together regularly in Great Bend Recreation Commission classes.
Team members Dorothy Piland, Mary Malone, Kayleen Kern, Joan Laraby and Shirley Detter wore this year’s purple Walk Kansas T-shirts and attended Wednesday’s celebration, which featured lunch and a program by Krug.

“As the weather warms up, I always think of salad,” Krug said. Celebrants were welcome to make their own food choices, but the table was arranged with the healthiest choices, fresh vegetables, first. Foods containing more fat or sodium were at the end of the table.

Another group represented at the luncheon included members of the local Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) chapter. Their two teams, Spinning TOPS #Dizzy Broads and TOPS of the World, had chosen the Cross Country challenge. They realized Wednesday that they probably won’t reach their goal, but two other groups on the Cross Country leaderboard have: Tater Trots team has walked 915 miles and Les Gagnant team has walked 878 miles.
Members of all teams can still add missing days to their logs and continue the challenge through Sunday.

Reaching a goal
TOPS member Corry Herrman had something else to celebrate Wednesday; that morning when she weighed in at home she had lost 60 pounds since March of 2017, about 58 weeks ago. Although Herrman has been a TOPS member longer than that and has participated in Walk Kansas in previous years, she said 2017 was when she really starting making progress with weight loss.
“I just didn’t have the mindset for it (before that). That’s 75 percent of it,” she said.
“Everybody does whatever works for them,” she said. Here’s what works for her: “I just don’t eat as much.” She said she also drinks 10 or more 8-ounce glasses of water daily, and she includes her tea and coffee in that total.
The Walk Kansas website also allowed members to keep track of how many glasses of water they drank and how many cups of fruits and veggies they ate during the challenge.

About Walk Kansas
Walk Kansas is an initiative of K-State Research and Extension. The program encourages people to be more active with friends and family, make better nutrition choices and "walk away stress." Creators of the program note that less than half of Kansas adults meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity; just 19 percent of Kansans eat enough fruits and vegetables; and chronic disease, including obesity, is responsible for more than 70 percent of health care costs.