Participants can track their “virtual” journey across the state as they chart online their physical activity Sunday through Nov. 23. With a goal of walking 15 miles each week, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offering enables people to convert various forms of exercise into steps-per-minute, so all types of “walked” miles can be logged.
“The goals of the Walk Georgia program are to help people to develop regular physical activity habits, to get out and to be active in any activities that they enjoy with Walk Georgia,” said Bartow County Extension Resource Manager Brielle Shinall, who is helping coordinate the program locally. “It’s unique in that people can log different types of activities, like swimming, kayaking, running, not just walking, for their physical activity that they participate in each day.
“And, obviously, through participating in physical activity, the hope is for the community as a whole to become healthier and more physically fit. This program is supposed to be fun. The program charts people’s progress across Georgia. There is kind of an interactive map included with the program, which allows people to see how far their physical activity would propel them across Georgia, and they get to learn different facts about each county that they visit along their journey.”
After about a two-year absence, Bartow County Extension Office is reviving the program due to a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation.
“We offered it, I think, two years and then I retired and went part time,” said Kathy Floyd, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for the Northwest District. “I had my plate full so I didn’t serve as the promoter after that. The first year, we had teams within the county government. They enjoyed the partnerships with each other, the camaraderie of doing this as a team. They enjoyed logging their miles online.
“I think one of the unique things about Walk Georgia is the ability to translate most any activity you do into the system, so that you get some credit for all of your activity, not just if you go to the gym or if you’re in a walking program or in an aerobics class. That’s sort of an approach to help people understand they need to be active all during the day. … It also helps you translate everyday activities to see how active you are just in your life as a whole.”
Those wanting to participate in Walk Georgia can register as individuals or four-member teams from Sunday, Sept. 1, to Oct. 9. For more information, visit Walk Georgia’s website, www.walkgeorgia.com, or contact the Bartow County Extension Office, 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville, by phone at 770-387-5142, or online, www.caes.uga.edu/extension/bartow.