Rita Hodges

Extension service

Inactivity and being overweight are consistently linked with increased incidence of chronic disease and even death, yet half of Ameri-can adults are not active enough to receive the health benefits from physical activity.

Among children and adolescents, the statistics are not much better: in 2001 only about half of young people between the ages of 12 and 21 reported regular vigorous physical activity, while 25 percent reported none at all. To encourage adults and children to increase their levels of regular physical activity, Texas AgriLife Extension Service created Walk Across Texas, an eight-week behavior-change program focusing on increasing physical activity.

Walk Across Texas is program designed to encourage people to develop the healthy habit of walking daily. The object is to see if you and a team of seven others can “walk across Texas” (about 830 miles from east to west) in eight weeks. Each team member will have to walk about 13 miles per week or a little less than two miles per day.

The Walk Across Texas kick-off event will take place Saturday, March 6, at Getzendaner Park, Waxahachie. The come and go event will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon. If you are not signed up for a team, you can sign up at this time. And, individuals can participate in Walk Across Texas, if desired, as an individual.

Regular physical activity significantly improves health and lowers the risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer. Other benefits include:

• weight control;

• increased strength of muscles, joints and bones;

• reduced falls among older adults;

• less arthritis pain;

• reduced anxiety, stress and depression.

For more information, contact Rita M. Hodges, county extension agent for family and consumer sciences, 701 S. Interstate 35E, Suite 3, Waxahachie; call 972-825-5175; or e-mail rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu.