Walk Kansas participants headed into the final days of the 2017 fitness challenge this week with a rally at the Great Bend Activity Center.
Walk Kansas is a team-based program that challenges people to walk and exercise more. During the eight-week challenge that runs from March 19 to May 13, six-person teams record their activity. If each team member logs 150 minutes of exercise each week, the team will walk the length of the state, 423 miles, by the end of eight weeks.
Teams also had the option of attempting to walk across the state diagonally, 750 miles, or the perimeter, 1,200 miles.
The program is offered by K-State Research and Extension. The Great Bend Recreation Commission is also involved in the local program.
For Thursday’s Walk Kansas Rally, sponsors prepared a potato bar and invited walkers to load up on toppings. The cost of the meal was included in the Walk Kansas registration, but there was also a nutritional “cost,” said Donna Krug, Barton County Extension agent. She presented the program “Nutrition Banking with Wise Bucks” to help people visualize nutrition deposits and withdrawals.
“Think of the amount of fat, added sugars and sodium you eat as withdrawals from your nutrition budget,” Krug suggested. Each gram of fat costs $1; each 100 mg of sodium costs $1 and every 4 g of sugar (1 teaspoon) costs $1.
Based on 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men, women have $81 a day and men have $99 a day to spend.
“Men have a different metabolism, so they can have a few more calories,” Krug said. For lunch, women had $27 to spend and men had $33. Using the “Wise Bucks” guidelines, 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine cost $12, while light sour cream was only $3. Those who wanted to enjoy a 2-inch brownie needed to save $8 in their budget for dessert.
Krug said people should be aware of what they eat. Reading nutrition labels and using visual aids for healthy portions can help.
According to K-State Research & Extension, less than half of Kansas adults meet 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. Walk Kansas encourages participants to lead a healthier life.
Linda Beech from the Ellis County Extension was at Thursday’s rally. The two counties have recently collaborated to create the Cottonwood Extension District. Beech said Walk Kansas activities in Hays this year included a “story walk” based on a children’s book about making breakfast for Mom. Participants followed a path where laminated pages from the book were placed on easels. There were snacks and water along the way. “The whole idea is to combine literacy with family time,” Beech said. “People loved it.”