TAVARES — Lake County is participating in Let’s Walk Florida, a program that runs for three months and aims to help county residents get in shape and feel healthier than ever. It will also promote one activity in particular: Walking.
Let’s Walk Florida is a 12-week program, where local residents team up and make a long-term commitment to establishing a lifelong love of walking, said Mia Wilchcombe of the UF/IFAS Extension Lake County.
“The goal of the program is to promote and enhance physical wellness among our residents,” Wilchcombe said. “The benefits to walking can result in significant health improvements, including reducing the risks of heart disease and some cancers, improving blood sugar levels and mood.”
What Can Walking Do For You?
In fact, one of the goals of this program is to help promote walking as a lifelong habit, by educating residents about the benefits of this simple but effective method of exercising, including:
* Weight loss
* Stress relief
* Improved sleep
* and a more positive, upbeat mood.
This new walking program from the University of Florida also hopes to promote something else: comradery.
As Wilchcombe noted, adults and children are invited to join in the fun, and even make this a special family activity. Depending on their long-term health and fitness goals, walkers can choose from three tracks to focus on: health, fitness and performance.
The Let’s Walk Florida Kickoff Celebration is Tuesday, June 25 from 6–7 p.m. at the Lake County Extension Center in Tavares. Then in October there will be a Celebrate Success Event, when prizes will be awarded to top teams and individuals.
Let’s Walk Florida runs from Tuesday, Jun 25 at 6 p.m. to Thursday, Sept. 19 at 11:30 p.m. The Lake County Cooperative Extension Service is at 1951 Woodlea Road. Teams of 5 or Solo walkers are welcome to join in, and participants are asked to track their minutes of physical activity each week and report it to the Extension Office. Participants will also get a weekly newsletter offering wellness tips and an update on who is leading the challenge.
Teams are also encouraged to four friends, family members or co-workers to take part in Let’s Walk Florida.
The registration fee is $10 per person, and Let’s Walk Florida is a nonprofit event. The first 50 participants to register will receive water bottles and pedometers
Why Health Living Counts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic physical activity each week, and that children should be active for at least 60 minutes every day.
As the CDC points out, walking is particularly appealing because it offers an accessible form of physical activity that doesn’t require expensive gym memberships or special equipment. It’s also a great form of exercise that can be done anytime and anywhere.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.