How long does it take to walk across Texas?
By Robin Scott
It may sound crazy to actually walk the 1000 miles across the great State of Texas, but many are planning to do just that, so to speak. What they will do is walk, and walk, and walk, each week. People all over the area are joining the Walk Across Texas and everyone in Dalhart and the surrounding area is invited to take part in this event.
The Dalhart and surrounding area Walk Across Texas is a 32-week program designed to help communities establish the habit of regular physical activity. Since 1996, thousands of Texans have participated in the now annual event and thousands are expected to join in this year.
Walking is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to get fit and reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. No expensive equipment or gym memberships are necessary to begin. Walking may be achieved alone or with a friend or in a group, at almost any time of day or duration. Participating in WAT requires a decent pair of walking shoes and approximately 80 to 90 minutes each week dedicated to walking. Walking 30 minutes a day, three times each week for 8 weeks will lead to feeling better, lowering stress and the enjoyment of amazing health benefits of regular physical activity. Imagine the benefits of the entire 32-week event.
Success in any physical activity may well depend upon becoming a part of a group or team. WAT encourages team membership, so teams of eight members are forming. Registration is going on now and each team pays a small fee. Teams may be made up of work colleagues, family members, students/teachers, and friends.
Walkers will see just how long it takes to walk across the state by tracking their daily miles. Upon completion of each eight week, 250 mile goal, each team member will receive an “incentive prize” to keep on moving and once they have reached 1000 miles within the 32 weeks, they will be eligible for the “Grand Prize.” Many plan to track weight loss at the same time. Riding a bicycle, running or even dancing count toward total miles. Each participant will receive a pedometer to help them track their steps. Two thousand steps are equivalent to one mile and a chart is provided for runners and bike riders to keep track of their miles. A mileage equivalent is also available on the website at www.dhchd.org.
The kickoff activity complete with healthy snacks, additional packets and representatives to answer questions, is scheduled for Friday, March 12th from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the Coon Memorial Hospital cafeteria. After registering their team, participants will each receive a free pedometer furnished by the local Texas Cooperative Extension Office and may order a free “I’m Walking to South Padre…..And These Folks are Sponsoring Me!” t-shirt. Coon Memorial Hospital will be offering free blood tests for all participants at the beginning and end of the contest, which can be done at the team member’s convenience. After registration, each team member will receive a card to take to the Coon Memorial Hospital Lab for the free blood draw.
This event has been made possible for the Dallam and Hartley Counties area by The Dalhart Area Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Cooperative Extension Office, the Dallam-Hartley Counties Healthcare System and the Dalhart Texan along with several local businesses who will be revealed later.
To join in the fun, form a team of eight people who are age 19 or older, appoint a team captain, name the team, complete the individual registration form, pay the registration fee, complete the team registration form, and turn in all forms to Glenda Cunningham in the front lobby of the hospital. Start logging in miles on Friday, March 12th, keep track of individual daily mileage on the individual mileage log, turn in weekly mileage to the team captain, and check out the DHCHD website to see each team’s weekly mileage. Additional forms will be available at the Kick-Off.
On May 14th, the first “Don’t Give Up Activity” occurs with the first bi-monthly prize awarded to each team member whose team has completed 250 miles. Team registration forms and registration fees must be delivered to Dallam Hartley Counties Healthcare System, 1411 Denver, PO Box 2014, Dalhart, Texas 79022 by March 31, 2010. Contact Glenda Cunningham for more information at 806.244.9223 or 806.333.4607 or e-mail Glenda at firstname.lastname@example.org.