Walk Kansas March 18 through May 12. Walk Kansas is a team-based program.

Groups of six form a team, with one serving as the captain. Teams can be family, coworkers, friends,community organization members, neighbors, or part of a faith-based community. Team members do not have to live in the same town, county, state or country. The captain is in charge of organizing the team, making sure that all members are registered and have program information. Captains will receive helpful messages from the local program coordinator at least once each week.

In addition to being the "organizer," captains should motivate, connect and celebrate with their team! If you choose to register online for Walk Kansas, the captain is responsible for initiating the process. There will be many opportunities to motivate your team! Think of yourself as a coach, cheerleader or champion. Be positive, encouraging, optimistic and supportive. Believing that you, and others, can accomplish something is half the battle!

Create a fun challenge with another, if friendly competition is motivating. Find activities that team members can do together several times during the program.

Get to know your team and learn what motivates them. The first step is to join a team, select a challenge, and register. The captain of your team will initiate this process and register your team online. (The captain will need your email address.) If you prefer to register with a paper form, contact your local Extension Office. If you don't have a team to join right now, register online and choose the "individual" option when it asks you to select a team registration or individual registration. You will be placed on a team that could use an additional member.

During the eight weeks, you will log and report minutes of physical activity and the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. This can be one of the most important tools for making lifestyle changes. Recording progress keeps you focused on your goals. Walk Kansas participants tell us that reporting each week is a powerful motivator because they know their team is depending on each person to do their part. Registration is requested by March 16.

A variety of activities count toward Walk Kansas goals. Anything you do for 10 consecutive minutes or more, at a moderate or vigorous intensity, can count. Strengthening exercises also count and these activities are part of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Healthy eating, including beverage choices, also plays a key role in reducing your risk of chronic disease. During Walk Kansas, you will also keep track of fruits and vegetables you eat.

How much is enough? For most adults, the recommendation is approximately 1 cup of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables daily. The amount varies depending on your age, sex and level of physical activity. Each participant will receive a weekly newsletter with healthful lifestyle information and a recipe. Classes, programs and events that support Walk Kansas goals will also be available in your community. Team Challenges. Each team chooses one of these challenges. As your team moves through your selected trail, learn about points of interest through the online map.

Challenge 1 - 8 Wonders: Each person reaches the minimum goal for physical activity -- 150 minutes per week. Collectively, the team would walk 435 miles as they discover the 8 Wonders of Kansas!

Challenge 2 - Cross Country: A winding trail from Troy to Elkhart, requiring each person to log 4 hours per week, traveling 764 miles total.

Challenge 3 - Little Balkans to Nicodemus Walk: the SE part of the state known as the Little Balkans and then wind up and around to Nicodemus. This team will go 1200 miles and require each person to log 6 hours per week.

Questions? Call the McPherson County Extension Office at 620-241-1523 or email jmckinne@ksu.edu We would love to have you join this fitness challenge.