It’s time to pull out those walking shoes and get steppin’, Georgia. The annual eight-week program, Walk Georgia, began Sept. 5, and registration continues through Sept. 14.
Walk Georgia encourages Georgians to increase their physical activity and have fun with their community while doing so.
“The goals of the program are to get people more physically active, encourage them to make activity part of their daily schedule and show them it can be fun,” said Connie Crawley, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.
Georgians of any age are allowed to participate in the free service and may do so individually or with a team of up to four people.
Once registered, participants are able to record their activity online from Sept. 5- Oct. 30. Anyone who has access to a computer can join. Participants of any age can log on to www.walkgeorgia.org and track their activity.
“When people have a website to go to and log their activity and minutes, they do so more regularly,” Crawley said.
Activity recorded is translated into “walked” miles. Accumulating miles allows the individual or team to navigate across the state and chart their course to virtually “walk” Georgia. As the course continues, participants learn facts about the counties they visit along with new ways to improve their health.
“People really enjoy the interaction, and it can encourage them to be more physically fit,” Crawley said. “They also enjoy the rewards for the activity. When they record more activity, they learn new things about the places they visit.”
Walk Georgia also encourages friendly competition. Teams and individuals can compare themselves to others who are “walking” Georgia. This allows rankings for teams and top individuals in each county. People are eager to be on the top, Crawley said.
The program encourages physical activity of all kinds. Activity can range from hiking, yoga, swimming and gardening to Frisbee and bowling.
Walk Georgia has a weekly goal for individual participants and teams to walk 15 miles. This goal can be spread out through a number of activities, days and team members.
Before registering, Crawley says there are two important things to know: “The most important thing is to write down your username and password,” she said. “When you register and don’t log in for a couple weeks, it is easy to forget. Secondly, all activity counts, and there is a lot to choose from. Walking, bike riding and a swim can all be logged for one day.”
For more information and to register for Walk Georgia, visit www.walkgeorgia.org.
(Sarah Lewis is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)