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Exercsie with Walk Georgia to benefit your health

Would you like to boost your mood, improve your memory, lower your risk of disease and stay fit? It can be as easy as a walk in the park.

Walk Georgia will help you keep a log of your physical activity March 1-April 25 and put you on the road to better health. Register at www.walkgeorgia.org anytime between now and March 5 to participate.

Walking is a significant exercise that has tremendous benefits. It’s an excellent exercise for just about everyone. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes.

Research conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that walking briskly for 30 minutes every day lowers your odds of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors linked to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Walking even a few hours a week reduces breast-cancer risk, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The premise is that walking helps reduce levels of body fat, which is a source of estrogen. A brisk afternoon walk can help you sleep better, but don’t walk within two hours before going to bed.

Walking for only 30 minutes can make you feel better. It can relieve depression, anxiety and stress. Walking triggers your body to release feel-good endorphins, putting you in a happy mood.

Walking for 30 minutes a day can help you to maintain your weight. Walking is an easy exercise and one you can do almost anytime. You don’t necessarily have to leave your neighborhood to exercise.

Several studies conducted of older people suggest that walking for as little as 45 minutes a week can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Regardless of your age, walking is likely to help keep your mind active.

One more benefit of walking three times a week is that it can prevent and help thinning bones.

Walking is an excellent exercise that most people can do and receive wonderful benefits, but it’s not the only exercise you can enjoy while participating in Walk Georgia.

All kinds of exercise can be counted in your quest for better health. Anything from aerobics to yard work counts. You may participate in aquacise classes, Pilates, karate, softball, swimming or many other exercises with Walk Georgia.

Walk Georgia is a free, Web-based program that will help you keep track of your physical activity in a fun manner. You can participate as an individual or as part of a four-person team. Encourage family members or friends to become active. Youths as well as adults are welcome to partipate.

The captain is responsible for registering his or her team with Walk Georgia. After receiving an e-mail from Walk Georgia, team members will establish their own accounts and enter their own data. Should someone not have access to the internet, the team captain can enter their exercise times for them.

Your real exercise time is logged on your personal Walk Georgia Web page that you create during registration. Using a drop-down menu bar, you can record your physical activities. The time is then translated into miles, and the Web site gives you the go-ahead to “move” around the state on your virtual map of Georgia.

Through the online map, you can electronically chart a course as you “walk” Georgia. For every 15 miles logged, you will get to visit three contiguous counties. As you move around the state, you will get to learn facts about the counties visited.The Bibb County Walk Georgia task force encourages people who are currently not physically active to get up and become so.

Our goal is for participants to walk at least 10 miles each week. We offer a mid-point incentive to participants who have logged at least 40 miles at the end of the first four weeks. At the end of the event, those who have logged 80 miles will be invited to a recognition event and be eligible for door prizes. By the end of the eight-week program, we hope participants will have established the habit of exercise and will continue their new exercise regimes. The Wellness Center is our local sponsor.

For more information about Bibb County’s Walk Georgia program, call the Bibb County Extension Office at 751-6338.

Jan Baggarly is Bibb County extension coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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