University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents across the state are encouraging the people in their counties to increase their physical activity. As an incentive to get Georgians moving, agents are inviting them to spend eight weeks on a virtual walk around the state.
Starting Feb. 18, Georgians can register to participate in Walk Georgia, an online program they can use to log the time they spend doing various exercise activities between March 2 and April 30. The program converts the exercise time into virtual miles.
For example, 29 minutes spent throwing a Frisbee equals one mile. Jumping rope for eight minutes will give you a quicker one mile. Twenty minutes of actual walking equals one mile in the program.
Over the course of the program, participants can take the virtual miles and use the online map to electronically chart a course as they "walk Georgia," said Maria Bowie, a marketing specialist with UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
"As you move, you will read about the counties you visit virtually and learn new ways to improve your health," Bowie said.
Program miles aren't the same as actual road miles. You only need 15 miles to move from one county into another.
Participants can compete against individuals or teams in their counties. Patricia Stuckey says her county will be the best.
"From what I see, the Web site is a friendly one, and it won't take a lot of time," said Stuckey, UGA Extension coordinator in Cobb County. "We're all busy. This is in and out before you know it."
"We've learned through our research that 58 percent of adults in Georgia are inactive," said Jan Baggarly, UGA Extension coordinator in Bibb County. "Our goal is to get some of that 58 percent moving."
One out of four adults in Georgia is obese, totaling 1.8 million people. Obesity leads to a variety of health problems, especially cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer in Georgia.
"We hope to make a difference for some people as far as that statistic is concerned,"
To find out more or to register, go to the program website above. While an e-mail address is required to register, individuals without one can join as part of a team as long as the team captain has an e-mail address.