It was perfect walking weather — a little cool but pleasant.
And while there wasn’t a lot of walking actually taking place Monday, it was the kickoff of the annual “Walk Across Texas” program — a health and fitness initiative of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
Monday’s kickoff at the Navarro County Courthouse gave individuals an opportunity to sign up for the program, receive T-shirts and water bottles and other “freebies” including some health screenings taking place. Even some impromptu “Zumba” dancing was celebrated by the courthouse steps for those who wished to take part. Complete with a sack lunch courtesy of the Healthy Woman program at Navarro Regional Hospital, the occasion was a festive one for walkers of all ages.
“It’s an eight week walking challenge to help develop the habit of physical activity by walking,” explained Paula Butler of Texas AgriLife. “It’s done all throughout the state.”
Those interested in taking part join together as teams to participate, logging the distances they walk. Team captains report miles walked each week via the Internet. Those distances are then calculated as “Miles Across Texas” at the end of the eight week campaign.
Last year, some 43 teams of walkers participated in the local “Walk Across Texas” event, logging over 43,000 miles, said Butler. This year’s event is the fourth year of the “Walk Across Texas” program locally.
“It’s not too late to start,” Butler said. “Anyone who is interested can get their teams together and get their forms to us this week.”
Butler said the program is a big help to those wishing to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“We all need physical activity,” Butler said. “The benefits of physical activity are well documented. We’re really promoting health and wellness ... it’s an easy, free way to motivate people and get them into the habit of exercise.”
Navarro Regional teamed up with Texas AgriLife for this year’s “Walk Across Texas” event, supplying lunch and water for those who came to sign up.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for us to do another outreach,” said Susan Johnson, marketing and public relations director for the hospital. “It helps get people motivated to move, and that’s the whole point ... take small steps toward success.”
For more information about the program, contact Butler at Texas AgriLife at (903) 654-3075, or online at www.walkacorsstexas.tamu.edu.