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Walk the Walk to Lighten Up, East Texas By Johanna Hicks

Walk the Walk to Lighten Up, East Texas!

              Last week, this column focused on how we can help stop or slow the spread of germs during this cold and flu season.  Thanks for the positive feedback!  Along the lines of health and wellness, I want to tell you about an opportunity that will kick off in February, just in time to get in shape for the spring and summer months!

              Be a part of Walk Across Texas!  What is Walk Across Texas?  Walk Across Texas! is a free 8-week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity.  Solo walkers or teams of 8 track physical activity with the goal of hitting 833 miles – the distance from El Paso to Beaumont.

              Why do it?  Over two-thirds of Texans do not meet the recommended daily physical activity levels of 30 minutes per day.  Walking is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to exercise, and just 30 minutes a day will improve your overall health and help you to meet your Lighten Up East Texas goals.  In 2017, 16 participants at the Early Childhood Learning Center in Sulphur Springs logged a combined 2,287 miles.  Additionally, 4 other Hopkins County teams logged 4,940.26.  The economic impact, based on potential healthcare cost savings, was $1,209,901 – quite impressive!

              How do you participate?  The answer is simple – visit www.walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu and register by filling out the on-line form.  If you would like to serve as a team captain, simply round up seven of your friends, family members, or co-workers.  Your team members will report their miles to you each week and you record them on the WAT website.  By yourself walkers will record their own miles.  If you want to participate as a group, but no one wants to be the team captain, no problem!  Just let me know and I’ll take care of keeping up with everybody’s miles!  The WAT website even has a link for classroom teachers, including lessons that go along with TEKS requirements.

              How do you estimate miles?  Many people have Fit Bits or other devices or phone apps that can help you keep track of steps or miles.  If you don’t have that option, here are two formulas to determine miles:  2,000 steps equal one mile, or 20 minutes of moderate continuous physical activity equal one mile.  The website also has a calculator that will help you determine miles with different activities.  Example:  gardening, biking, swimming, dancing, playing basketball, etc.

Currently, a group of faculty members, parents, and students at Como-Pickton School are participating in Walk & Talk, which is a variation of Walk Across Texas.  Each week for 8 weeks, I will provide a brief nutrition topic or cooking demonstration, followed by walking on site.  The first week, 25 individuals turned in registration forms, and I am expecting even more this week.  At the end of the 8 weeks, we will have a celebration where the top walkers will be recognized, and each participant will receive a certificate.  If this sounds like something you would be interested in, let me know soon, and I will schedule it on my calendar.  However, I do need a commitment from at least 10 people.

So grab your walking shoes, and family, friends, or co-workers to see if you are up to the challenge of walking across Texas!

Twogether in Texas Marriage Education

              I hope you saw the article on the front page of Wednesday’s Sulphur Springs News Telegram!  The Twogether in Texas Marriage Education workshop is a win-win situation for couples, because not only is the workshop free (lunch included!), but engaged couples also receive a certificate to save $60 upon applying for a marriage license.  Of course, married couples are also welcome!

              Topics covered are marriage expectations, communication, conflict resolution, money management, and goal & dreams.  The workshop is offered 3 times each year, so pick the date that works best for you!  The dates are Saturday, February 10, May 12, and August 25.  Sessions are held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 1200 W. Houston, Sulphur Springs, from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m.  Interested couples are asked to call to reserve a seat so adequate preparations can be made – 903-885-3443.

Closing Thought

Be careful with your words – they can only be forgiven, not forgotten – Toby Mac

Johanna Hicks
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
P.O.Box 518
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax
[email protected]

Author: Savannah Owens

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