This program is sponsored by the University of Georgia Extension Service, and promoted locally by county extension offices, according to Susan Culpepper, Douglas County extension service coordinator.
Walk Georgia is a 12-week program to increase physical activity in a fun, community-oriented way, she explained.
“Individuals can track their progress with other individuals in their county or form a team of four to exercise together,” said Culpepper.
Groups from Douglas County government, Cobb-Douglas Public Health and Greystone Power are a few that form Walk Georgia teams, according to Culpepper.
Almost 100 Greystone Power employees and spouses have signed up to participate in Walk Georgia so far this year, noted employee coordinator Carla Pierce. This includes Pierce herself, who participates by playing tennis, walking and hiking with her dog.
“Our health and wellness program is designed to encourage healthier lifestyle behavior to lower the overall cost of healthcare,” said Vicki Harshbarger, Greystone public relations and communications manager.
“All employees are encouraged to participate in our health and wellness incentive program in order to receive reductions in insurance premiums.”
Walk Georgia began in 2008 and includes over 50 activities such as hiking, gardening, Frisbee, walking and yoga.
The online component of Walk America provides an activity record to keep track of an individual’s or team’s physical activity and time, which is translated into “walked” miles.
Upon accumulating miles, individuals will be able to navigate a map of Georgia and chart a course to “walk” across Georgia, said Culpepper, learning fun facts about each county visited.
“Physical activity is so critical,” stresses the extension service coordinator. “It is important for weight loss and to prevent heart disease, but it also helps prevent some types of cancer and treats stress and depression.”
Registration for Walk Georgia continues until March 11, and activities are charted until May 4.
Although the program lasts only 12 weeks each year, Culpepper said she hopes that the healthy habit started will encourage people to continue on their own.
Information: to register or get more information, visit www.walkgeorgia.org or call the Douglas County Extension office at (770) 920-7224.