Good Luck

September 21st, 2019

walk kansas pictureCourtesy photoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


Today’s windy cold weather is a reminder winter is still somewhat en force for the High Plains region, but with highs forecast in the 60s and lighter winds expected in the next week, this makes for the perfect time to get outside.

A popular outdoor activity, particularly in warmer weather, is walking, and K-State Research and Extension is helping to get people in the spirit of walking with the start of its annual Walk Kansas program.

The event is a challenge which recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week and strengthening exercises at least two days per week.

The official kickoff for this year’s Walk Kansas is Sunday, but in Seward County, participants can get a head start with Liberal Recreation’s annual Leprechaun Challenge 5K fun walk/run  starting with registration at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Willow Tree Golf Course.

The fee for that event is a $10 donation.. A prize will be awarded to the person who wears the most green.  This run/walk can go toward Walk Kansas time.

For more information about the Leprechaun Challenge, please contact Ronna at the Recreation Office during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays at 626-0133.

As for Walk Kansas, the K-State event runs through May 11, and Seward County walkers can register either with paper forms at the office at 1081 Stadium Road in Liberal or online at

K-State Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Mirna Bonilla said in recent years, particularly 2018, the local Walk Kansas event has been quite successful.

“We had over 90 participants, and they walked over 14,000 minutes,” she said. “Last year was amazing.”

Despite the recent cold windy weather, Bonilla said a number of walkers have already registered for this year.

“We are actually doing pretty good, and we are still encouraging people to participate in Walk Kansas and register for this year,” she said. “Walk Kansas is a health initiative that has shown awesome benefits and participation, so people will actually work toward reducing chronic diseases, eating healthier and just living a healthier lifestyle.”

And even with weather conditions like today’s, Bonilla said there are other things Walk Kansas participants can do in indoor comfort.

“The weather is obviously not always the best to be walking outside, but there’s always different options,” she said. “You can walk in stores. You can take advantage finding just different locations, inside locations that will still allow you to exercise. If you can’t make it to the gym or go to an exercising class, you can find a different way to exercise in your home. There’s always different options.”

Bonilla said she is hoping to build on the momentum of the 2018 edition of Walk Kansas.

“I really hope that people look forward and take advantage of the fact that Walk Kansas is a state program that Extension does,” she said. “I really hope that people are excited about being more physically active. If they have any questions, they can contact the Extension office. We do look to being able to do the poker walk again in April, so looking forward to that event as well.”

A maximum of six members can form a team. In past years, the Walk Kansas initiative has challenged people to either walk the length of the state or the perimeter of the state over the course of eight weeks. Bonilla said that challenge was changed during last year’s edition.

“We will still have three challenges that you will be able to choose from,” she said. “The first challenge is called ‘The 8 Wonders of Kansas.’ That’s walking about two and a half hours per week. The second challenge is called ‘Cross Country,’ and that’s four hours of activity per week. The third challenge is ‘Little Balkans to Nicodemus,’ and that’s six hours per week.”

Bonilla said the Walk Kansas program is simply designed to help people move more, eat better and live a healthier life.

“Some of the statistics that have actually come out with the program is you reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke,” she said. “You reduce the risk of diabetes. You boost brain power. You improve your mood and relieve stress. It improves your social skills because you are able to participate in a team that helps you build relationships.”

Though Walk Kansas officially ends May 11, Bonilla said participants can register activity on the event’s Web site until May 14. 

“That allows you to log in any last minute minutes that you did,” she said.

For those who use traditional methods of tracking activity, Bonilla said the Extension office has help there as well.

“We have daily log paper forms here in the office, so they can just come in and pick one up,” she said. “They can keep tracks of their minutes on paper forms. They can just return it back to the office, and we will log it in for them.”

In the past, prizes have been given out at the conclusion of the Walk Kansas program. Bonilla said that, too, has changed for this year.

“This year, we’re doing it a little differently,” she said. “We will actually giving away prizes throughout the eight weeks. At the poker walk, we will have prizes for the grand winner of the poker walk. That’ll be a good incentive and motivation to continue working throughout the eight weeks.”

Bonilla said that event should happen in April, and a date and time will be confirmed soon.

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