Let’s Get In Shape! By Johanna Hicks
Let’s Get in Shape!
It seems that there is a growing trend toward health and fitness. From commercials, to Facebook posts, to fitness classes, and “light” menus in restaurants, the message is clear that there are options for helping achieve a few pounds of weight loss or making heathier food choices. The problem often comes in the price tag. Classes, fitness equipment, and special weight-loss products all cost money, and I’m certainly not demeaning those options, but there are other options that don’t cost a dime!
Walk Across Texas! is a fun, healthy program to help you build the habit of regular physical activity – walking in particular. You might have read about – or perhaps you were a part of – the Walk Across Texas challenge in which City National Bank employees, Master Wellness Volunteers, and Head Start parents participated earlier in the year. Here are a few statistics from those three groups:
- Head Start parents – 17 participants logged a total of 1,953.8 miles. Some of their comments were: “Walking/talking with friends was my favorite part. It helps me to think about my overall fitness” ; “This is a great way to spend more time with our children. I liked learning other ways we can exercise”; “It got me in the habit of working out (walking) with friends”; “Stress relief, more energy!”
- Master Wellness Volunteers – 5 new Volunteers logged 868.5 miles
- City National Bank – 12 teams (86 walkers) logged 11,631.29 miles!
- Economic impact of these walkers – $2,002,634 based on health care cost savings and lost wages savings
So what is Walk Across Texas? Designed as an 8-week program, the goal is for a team (or teams) of 8 to log 833 miles (the approximate distance from Beaumont to El Paso). By yourself walkers and even classrooms can also participate! The typical method is walking, but other forms of physical activity also count! Gardening, bicycling, house work, sports, dancing, swimming, and others can also add up. Two thousand steps or 20 minutes of continuous physical activity count as one mile. On the link for Walk Across Texas, you will find a Mileage Equivalence Calculator – very handy! You will be surprised to see how many activities that you are already doing count toward miles!
Classrooms can also participate! There is link for teachers which will direct them to a plethora of simple lessons that are affiliated with TEKS for all ages – Kindergarten thru high school. Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Physical Education, Reading, Writing, and Health Education are all included! Best of all, students have fun!
I will be implementing a Walk and Talk series, a different twist on Walk Across Texas for Head Start parents beginning in October for 8 weeks (one day per week). We will start each session with a cooking demonstration or nutrition tip, and then proceed outdoors (weather permitting) to walk a few minutes.
To learn more about Walk Across Texas, go to http://walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu and click on the various links. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call my office – 903-885-3443. Let’s get fit, Hopkins County!!
Christmas Joys Program
Word has gotten out about the 43rd Annual Extension “Christmas Joys” holiday program. This year’s theme is ‘Christmas Blessings’, and you will not be disappointed! Presenters include yours truly, Denita Young (Rains County), Melisa Rhodes (Van Zandt County), Katie Phillips (Kaufman County), Susie Faltesek (Hopkins County Master Wellness Volunteer), and Carolyn McKinney & staff (Southwest Dairy Museum).
The program is scheduled for Monday, November 7, at the Southwest Dairy Museum, 1210 Houston Street, in Sulphur Springs. Two times are being offered, with the same information presented at each: 1:30 or 5:30 p.m. The 1:30 session is almost full, but seats remain for the 5:30 session. You MUST call to reserve a seat, and we must have a name and phone number for each seat reserved. The cost is $5, payable at the door. Attendees will receive a goody bag, booklet of all the projects and recipes demonstrated, and the opportunity to sample some delicious cheeses, spreads, desserts, and dips provided by museum staff. Door prizes will also be given at each session. To sign up, call the Extension Office at 903-885-3443.
A friend is the sunshine that always breaks through the clouds of calamity – Dorothy Retsloff