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Walk Kansas celebrates healthy steps
Donna Krug from the K-State Extension Cottonwood District leads Walk Kansas participants in a cheer during a rally Wednesday at the band shell in the courthouse square. Krug also showed the cheerleader skirt she made in junior high school. - photo by Susan Thacker

Donna Krug held up a cheerleader’s skirt she made in the eighth grade as she invited Walk Kansas participants to join her in a cheer for the K-State Research and Extension’s annual fitness challenge.

“It’s the 20th anniversary of Walk Kansas,” said Krug, Family & Consumer Science Agent with the Extension’s Cottonwood District. “It’s been around since 2001.”

Walk Kansas has become a signature program for the district, Krug said. There are people who have participated every year in the eight-week program that focuses on exercise and healthy eating. Teams log the time they spend exercising and every 15 minutes counts as walking one mile. Teams choose a route across or through the state and watch their progress on a digital map as they “Walk Kansas.” They can also log time spent on muscle-strengthening activity, the cups of water they drink and the servings of fruits and vegetables they eat.

This year, Walk Kansas allowed individuals as well as teams to enroll. The Cottonwood District enrolled 22 teams and 10 individuals on “solo trails,” Krug said.

The program began March 28 and will continue through May 22. On Wednesday, participants were invited to join the Extension staff at the band shell in the courthouse square for a pep rally, which inspired Krug to bring her old cheerleader skirt. (No, she can’t still wear it.)

But she did have the attendees marching in place and swinging their arms as she led a cheer for walking.

“I don’t know but I’ve been told,

Move every day so you don’t feel old!”

“Warming up is really important when you’re getting ready to walk or exercise in any way,” she said. It’s also a good idea to cool down at the end of the exercise session.

Wednesday’s rally included a light lunch and door prizes for everyone, with time for participant to enjoy an afternoon walk before returning to work.