Walk Across Texas! will be starting in Nueces County, as part of the Healthy South Texas Initiative, to challenge teams and individuals to walk 830 miles in 8 weeks as a way to encourage participants to increase their daily physical activity. The Nueces County kickoff will be at West Guth Park on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 9 am. Join us for physical activity, healthy food demonstrations, health screenings, music, door prizes, a leisurely walk through the park and much more!

Over two-thirds of Texans do not meet the recommended daily physical activity levels of 30 minutes per day. Walk Across Texas! works with individuals to form teams of up to 8 people and have activities that will get the team to walk 830 miles or more in 8 weeks, and teach participants how to increase their daily physical activity.

Participating in Walk Across Texas! focuses on walking, which is considered one of the least expensive and easiest ways to exercise. Walking for 30 minutes every day will improve your overall health. If it feels like 30 minutes is too much time, or seems too challenging, break your walking into 10 or 15 minute increments, and gradually increase your time. Walking as exercise does not require any expensive equipment, membership fees, or special locations. You can walk down your street, at a local park, or anywhere you feel comfortable. If you do not want to walk, you can choose to bike, run, swim, or many other activities.

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, and helps maintain or reduce other risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, excess body weight and diabetes. Additional benefits are having more energy, increasing strength, reducing stress, and overall feeling better.

Walk Across Texas! teams help individuals stay accountable for achieving the goal of reaching 830 miles. Other ways to reach your goal with Walk Across Texas! are to make plans for where you will walk, how long or how far, and what time of the day you will do your activity. If you are walking in early morning hours or late in the evening, make sure to wear reflective clothing so that cars will be able to see you from a further distance. Work hard to stick to your plan, and even if one day is missed, keep going back to work towards your goal. You can use the Walk Across Texas! website (walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu) to track your mileage and monitor your goal.

Some techniques to consider when walking are to make sure you are looking up and keeping your shoulders relaxed. Pumping or swinging your arms can also add to the exercise. Make sure you are walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe, to help prevent injury and soreness. Include a warm up of 5 to 10 minutes by walking slowly, then increasing your pace once the muscles have warmed up. Add a 5 to 10 minute cool down, followed by stretching, to help your muscles recover from the activity.

For more information contact Norma Munoz-Davila, at 361-767-5223, nadavila@ag.tamu.edu or visit walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu.