Physical activity improves one’s general health in so many ways. Being physically active for 30 or more minutes every day is a goal for improving your health.
We have known for years that being physically active decreases the risks of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Research tells us a daily workout may help you live longer than your sedentary neighbor.
Being physically active also helps to fight obesity.
Getting plenty of exercise may also help keep your brain fit. New research conducted at the University of Kansas finds that people with early Alzheimer’s disease who did best on a treadmill test were less prone to the brain atrophy associated with the disease.
Nearly 300 Bibb County residents did something this spring to become physically active by participating in Walk Georgia. The 298 active participants walked a total of 47,968 miles during the eight-week event. The average miles walked per participant was 161 miles.
It’s OK if participants didn’t achieve the county average of 161 miles. I admit that I did not meet the county average, but I did exceed the goal set by our local task force of 10 miles per week for a total of 80 miles. In Bibb County, we had 161 participants who met the goal of walking the equivalent of 80 miles.
Walk Georgia’s goal is to encourage local residents to become physically active. For those who are not already exercising, walking 10 miles a week can be overwhelming. When you are just getting started, it is important to have a goal, and 10 miles a week is a good place to start. The local task force is just as proud of those who struggled to walk 80 miles as we are of the top walker, who logged 2,312 miles.
Walk Georgia was developed and is conducted by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Our local financial sponsor is the Wellness Center. The eight-week program allows registered participants to log their physical activity time on the online reporting program. Participants enter the amount of time they spend on their physical activity of choice, which can be anything from aerobics to yard work.
Logging daily activity encourages participants to be active on a daily basis. We hope that at the end of eight weeks, participants will have developed the habit of physical exercise and then maintain this new habit.
If you missed out on the spring Walk Georgia event, you will have another opportunity this fall. It will run again during September and October. You will be able to register at www.walkgeorgia.org beginning Aug. 22.
During the spring event, we had many active participants who were recognized recently at an event held at the Wellness Center.
The first place individual who walked 2,312 miles is Rachel Thomas. The first place team members, the Wellness Hotties, combined their efforts to walk the equivalent of 3,395 miles.
The Wellness Hotties are Nancy Thomas, Hazel McCloud, Joe Hobbs and Sandra Stone. Other individuals recognized include Nancy Thomas, who logged the most miles in the Golden Age category (61 and over), and Hazel McCloud, who was recognized as being the oldest participant.
At the conclusion of each event, the Walk Georgia Cup is presented to the business or organization whose top two teams have the most miles. The cup was presented to the Wellness Center, whose top two teams racked up a total of 5,869 miles. The teams included the Wellness Center Hotties and Team Wellness Center, whose team members include Brain Walter, Debbie Brown, Luther Blaylock and Henry Koplin.
A new award for schools was introduced this spring. The School Vertical Team Challenge Cup was created to encourage school faculty and staff to become physically active. Three schools took the challenge.
The spring winner is Alexander II Magnet School, which had 15 teams of four people who walked a total of 7,882 miles. Participants reported to me that during the program they started taking the steps rather than the elevator. What a great example they are setting for the youth they teach. The two most active teams from the school are the Hard Hitters, who walked 2,109 miles and are made up of Del Harris, Anna Gilchrist, Lori Swanner and Moodyne Antione, and the Mighty Movers, made up of Earnestine McRae, Sue King, Pam Johnson and Phyllis Stokes.Everyone who participated in Walk Georgia is commended for taking the challenge to become more physically fit. Everyone is a winner with better health.
Jan Baggarly is Bibb County Extension Coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences.