The Walk Kansas program will be starting in a few weeks, which means spring must be just around the corner! In the meantime, winter weather has made it difficult to be outside for the physical activity we all need. Hectic schedules also make it hard to find time to get those recommended 30 minutes a day of activity.
When it comes to physical activity, every step or move has health benefits. The goal is to spend more time moving and less time sitting. If finding 30 minutes at a time for physical activity seems impossible, remember that short bursts of activity -- at least 10 minutes at a time --can provide health benefits. Short breaks are also great stress reducers.
Here are some ideas for adding some physical activity to your daily routine during the winter months.
* Walk around the block. Short 10-minutes walks during lunch break, while waiting for a sporting event to start, or while the evening meal is cooking will be beneficial. And if you bundle up, even cold weather won't chill you in a short amount of time.
* Lift a weight. Keep a weight near the telephone. Pick it up when you get a call and pump your arms while you talk.
* Stretch with a band. Keep a resistance band next to the remote so you can stretch your legs and arms while watching television.
* Dance with a DVD or video. Turn off the television and turn on the music for your own in-home dance session.
* Pump with a machine. Exercise machines can be a fitness bonus if you keep them in an accessible place and use them often.
* Step with the stairs. View each trip up and down the stairs as steps of physical activity.
* Push a broom or mop. It's not a real glamorous way to get active, but it works! Housework burns as many calories as golf without a cart.
* Laugh and play together. Research shows that they can have powerful health benefits.
* Team up for support. Team up with a friend or two who can hold you accountable for daily physical activity.
The Walk Kansas program uses the team approach to help participants maintain healthy habits of physical activity and improved nutrition. Teams of six are forming now for the program which runs March 7-May 1. It's a low cost program at $6 a person. A family can join for $15. Registration forms are available in the Extension office or at www.bourbon.ksu.edu. Registrations are due by February 24 if ordering optional t-shirts, or by March 1.
A kick-off on Saturday, March 6 will give participants an opportunity to be motivated and inspired by a health professional. The first 75 team members at the event will receive pedometers. Other educational materials and incentives will be offered as well.
Throughout the eight week program, participants will receive weekly newsletters to encourage and motivate them. Teams will report their physical activity and fruits and vegetables eaten to their team captain weekly. Team standings will be available online.
Walk Kansas is an inexpensive and fun way to start developing some healthy lifetime habits. Contact the Extension office for more information.
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Bourbon County. She may be reached at 620-223-3720 or email@example.com.